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- Heat Related Emergencies
Harper County EMS Hot Weather Safety Tips
When the weather outside heats up take the temperature and heat index into account when planning your daily outdoor activities.
The heat index is a combination of the current outdoor temperature and the relative humidity, or amount of moisture present in the air. The higher the outdoor temperature and relative humidity, the greater the heat index and more at risk you and your pets are to suffer from heat exhaustion.
If the value is above 105 degrees, the National Weather Service will issue a heat advisory, and special precautions are necessary. Below are some heat safety tips from the National Weather Service:
- Slow down - strenuous activities should be reduced or rescheduled to the coolest time of the day
- Dress for summer - wear light-weight, and light-colored clothing
- Stay hydrated - your body needs water to stay cool; even if you don't feel thirsty, continue to drink water
- Don't get too much sun - sunburn makes the job of heat dissipation that much more difficult
- Spend more time in air-conditioned places - doing so makes the body's job of staying cool that much easier
- Do not drink alcoholic beverages - the intake of alcohol only leads to further dehydration
Heat Exhaustion & Stroke
Each year when the summer temperature ascends higher and higher, the possibility of too much sun can cause a deadly stroke. When the weather is warm and sultry and in fact hot with high humidity it is sometimes deceiving to our good sense. We exercise with enthusiasm as usual, not thinking about the extreme heat of the day. Heat is generated in the body, and when it is produced faster than the body can cool itself down, then related conditions may occur such as heat exhaustion, or heat stroke.
If we are subjected to air that is a very warm and for an extended period, it may overwhelm the body's ability to cool adequately. When this happens we may have the symptom of cramps. The main muscles used in your activity will most probably be the areas you will notice the cramping. Rest, find shade, drink fluid, and eat something a bit salty to relieve the discomfort.
Feeling Faint: Heat Exhaustion
If your body temperature is raised and you feel faint, you notice your heart rate is rapid, your blood pressure will be low, you are very pale with cool clammy skin, and are sick at your stomach you may be experiencing heat exhaustion. These symptoms may show up very quickly.
Get to a cooler place inside or in the shade immediately. Remove restrictive clothing and lay down with legs elevated. Drink cool water or a beverages with electrolytes. Watch this condition carefully, it is a precursor to heat stroke.
Get Help: Heat Stroke
There are those people who have less ability to perspire, senior citizens or those prone to obesity, who will be more likely to succumb to a heat stroke. Also conditions such, excessive exercise, heart disease, specific medications, over use of alcohol, are all risk factors for heat stroke.
Symptoms of a heatstroke is fever of perhaps 105 degrees Fahrenheit with skin that is dry and very warm. You will notice some confusion, rapid pulse, and rapid shallow breathing; the blood pressure could be high or low. In this case you should suspect a heat stroke.
Call 911 and/or seek emergency treatment immediately. Move the person to a cool shady place and remove unnecessary clothing. If available, place ice packs under the person's armpits and in their groin area, otherwise apply a cool wet cloth to the head, armpits, groin, and chest areas. Keep the victim wet with a water spray, sponging, or wet towels. Use fans and/or air conditioners to increase the airflow over the victim.
Covering the person with ice or immersing in ice is not recommended. Do not give fluids.