Heat-related emergencies


Sunshine and blue skies are just a couple of  highlights of summertime. Summer is a great time to enjoy the outdoors, but it can leave you susceptible to heat related emergencies. 

When your body can no longer regulate its temperature effectively, your core temperature rises and can cause serious effects if not treated. 

Examples of environmental heat emergencies include:

Heat Exhaustion: The body can still get rid of some heat through sweating. The skin will be moist and feel cool or normal in temperature. Symptoms include weakness, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and cramps. Heat exhaustion is common, but once the symptoms occur, you need to take action quickly. Be sure to prioritize rehydration, rest and cooling. The best medicine is prevention—beware of your exposure to the sun, unventilated and hot areas, and be sure to stay hydrated. 

Heatstroke: The body can no longer get rid of heat fast enough and has exhausted normal methods of compensation. The core temperature rises above 105 degrees, which is a life-threatening situation. Sustained body temperatures at 105 degrees or higher can result in seizures, brain damage, organ failure and death. Symptoms include hot skin, little to no sweating, elevated heart rate, confusion, disorientation and poor coordination. Heat stroke requires immediate action to avoid a fatality. 

Call 911 immediately if you are concerned about heatstroke or suspect extreme heat exhaustion. If possible, try to get the person out of the hot environment. If you are unable to move them, attempt to give them shade.  

Remove unnecessary clothing to expose the skin. Cool the person with a fan, cold compresses, cold water, or ice bath. If the victim seems disoriented, take extra caution to prevent any further injury. Closely monitor the patient because changes in patient condition can occur rapidly. 

To help you stay hydrated, try limiting caffeine and alcohol consumption, wear weather appropriate clothing, and drink water throughout the day. Stay safe and have a fun summer!