Prevent Heatstroke

Heat-related illnesses include:

  • Heat Rash
    Heat rash is a skin irritation caused by excessive sweating during hot, humid weather. It can occur at any age but is most common in young children. The best treatment for heat rash is to provide a cooler, less humid environment. Keep the affected area dry.
     
  • Sunburn should be avoided because it damages the skin. Although the discomfort is usually minor and healing often occurs in about a week, more severe sunburn may require medical attention. Proper sun protection practices such as using sunscreen and wearing appropriate clothing can reduce a person’s risk for developing skin cancer.
     
  • Heat Cramps 
    Heat cramps usually affect people who sweat a lot during strenuous activity. This sweating depletes the body’s salt and moisture. The low salt level in the muscles may be the cause of heat cramps. Heat cramps may also be a symptom of heat exhaustion. If heat cramps occur, stop all activity, and sit quietly in a cool place. Drink clear juice or a sports beverage. Seek medical attention for heat cramps if they do not subside in 1 hour.
     
  • Heat Exhaustion
    Heat exhaustion is a milder form of heat-related illness that can develop after several days of exposure to high temperatures and inadequate or unbalanced replacement of fluids. It is the body’s response to an excessive loss of the water and salt contained in sweat. Those most prone to heat exhaustion are elderly people, people with high blood pressure, and people working or exercising in a hot environment. Warning signs of heat exhaustion include the following:
    • Heavy sweating
    • Heat Exhaustion
    • Paleness
    • Muscle cramps
    • Tiredness
    • Weakness
    • Dizziness
    • Headache
    • Nausea or vomiting
       
  • The skin may be cool and moist. The victim’s pulse rate will be fast and weak, and breathing will be fast and shallow. If heat exhaustion is untreated, it may progress to heat stroke. Seek medical attention immediately if any of the following occurs:
    • Symptoms are severe
    • The victim has heart problems or high blood pressure
    • Otherwise, help the victim to cool off, and seek medical attention if symptoms worsen or last longer than 1 hour.
       
  • Cooling measures that may be effective include the following:
    • Cool, nonalcoholic beverages
    • Rest
    • Cool shower, bath, or sponge bath
    • An air-conditioned environment
    • Lightweight clothing
       
  • Heat stroke 
    Heat stroke occurs when the body is unable to regulate its temperature. The body’s temperature rises rapidly, the sweating mechanism fails, and the body is unable to cool down. Body temperature may rise to 106°F or higher within 10 to 15 minutes. Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not provided. Warning signs of heat stroke vary but may include the following:
    • An extremely high body temperature (above 103°F, orally)
    • Red, hot, and dry skin (no sweating);
    • Rapid, strong pulse;
    • Throbbing headache;
    • Dizziness;
    • Nausea;
    • Confusion;
    • Unconsciousness
       
  • If you see any of these signs, you may be dealing with a life-threatening emergency. Have someone call for immediate medical assistance while you begin cooling the victim. Do the following:
    • Get the victim to a shady area.
    • Cool the victim rapidly, using whatever methods you can. For example, immerse the victim in a tub of cool water; place the person in a cool shower; spray the victim with cool water from a garden hose; sponge the person with cool water; or if the humidity is low, wrap the victim in a cool, wet sheet and fan him or her vigorously.
    • Monitor body temperature, and continue cooling efforts until the body temperature drops to 101-102°F.
    • If emergency medical personnel are delayed, call the hospital emergency room for further instructions.
    • Do not give the victim anything to drink.
    • Get medical assistance as soon as possible.
    • Sometimes a victim’s muscles will begin to twitch uncontrollably as a result of heat stroke. If this happens, keep the victim from injuring himself by moving objects around the victim.

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