With warmer weather temperatures coming, it’s time to be reminded of heat related injuries and illnesses.
Although staying hydrated is important all year long, it can become a medical emergency with hot, humid weather. Infants, the elderly, athletes and outdoor workers are at the greatest risk for heat stroke often referred to as Hyperthermia. Hyperthermia is when the body temperature is elevated dramatically with body temperatures of 104 degrees F (40C or higher). Heat stroke is a medical emergency and can be fatal if not treated promptly and properly.
Different people may have different symptoms and signs of heat stroke. Signs include: high body temperature, absence of sweating with hot, red or flushed skin, rapid pulse, difficulty breathing, strange behaviors, confusion, hallucinations, agitation, disorientation, seizure or coma.
Sometimes a person experiences heat exhaustion before progressing to heat stroke. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include nausea, vomiting, fatigue, weakness, headache, muscle cramps, aches and dizziness.
Some people develop symptoms of heat stroke suddenly without warning. Cooling the victim is a critical step in the treatment of heat stroke. It is important to notify emergency services immediately. Someone who may be suffering from heat exhaustion or heat stroke should be moved to a cool place. If they are conscious, offer sips of water while waiting for emergency medical personnel.
Tips to reduce sun or heat exposure:
* Wear wide brimmed hats to keep head and face cool. This also protects from damaging sun exposure and protects the face, ears and neck.
* Wear light colored, loose fitting long sleeved tops – except when working around machinery.
* Have plenty of water available. Take drinks frequently (every 15 minutes).
* Take breaks in the shade or a cool environment during the hottest part of the day.
* Adjust gradually to working in the heat. It may take 10-20 days to acclimate.
* Wearing a sunscreen with at least 15 SPF.