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Being Safe in Hot Weather

July 10, 2018

Being overheated can be deadly.  It's easy to become overheated and yet, it's easy to protect yourself. Sometimes the heat slowly affects you and you say, "I'll be okay, I'll keep doing what I am doing and rest later", then all of a sudden, you're sick.  

 

The three basic heat problems are Heat Cramps, Heat Exhaustion, and Heat Stroke.

 

Heat Cramps:

Causes: Dehydration and exertion

Signs: Cramping in the legs.

Care; Stop activity, get out of the heat, drink fluids, (water, sports drink). Refrain from drinking fluids with caffeine. Place a bag of ice with water to the area and lightly massage it. Rest.

 

Heat Exhaustion:

Causes: Dehydration and exertion

Signs: Cramps, sweating, intense thirst, pain cool skin, weakness, faintness, headache, dizziness, nausea and vomiting.

Care: Get the person out of the heat, and have them drink fluids with electrolytes, or just water if that is all you have.  Have the person sit comfortably so they don't faint. Monitor the person's condition until they are back to normal.

 

Heat Stroke:

Causes: Exposure to high heat and humidity or wearing heavy clothing that does not allow the person to sweat effectively for heat regulation.

Signs: The signs of Heat Exhaustion plus high body temperature, dry or moist, flushed skin, confusion, dizziness, slurred speech, seizures, severe headache, fast breathing and pulse, and unresponsiveness.

Care: Call emergency services: 911. Cool the person's body quickly using ice packs or put the person in a cool bath tub, or swimming pool, or use a garden hose. When the person begins to recover, stop the cooling.

 

PREVENT HEAT ILLNESS

Heat exposure can come on slowly and you might not realize it until you are sick.

Some things you can do to prevent heat illness are:

1. Monitor and follow recommendations for heat safety with the weather reports and heat alerts

2. Get acclimated to the heat. If you are not used to being outside and doing strenuous activities, start slowly and don't stay outside for long periods of time.

3. Be outside with other people. Watch out for each other.

4. Drink non caffeinated or alcoholic beverages before you spend time outside in the heat. When you are no longer thirsty, drink some more. If your urine is dark yellow, you need more fluids.

5. Perform the heaviest work during cool parts of the day.

6. Use sunscreen before going in the sun. Remember, sun damage can happen even on cloudy days.

7. Wear light colored clothes and a hat when outside in the heat.

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