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Friday, August 8, 2014

How to Identify Heat Stroke

The heat has been unforgiving this summer. Many of you may have heard in the media or through a casual conversation of the potential for a severe water drought. You may have received a notice advising you of potential fee hikes during peak hours of the day. You may have even been told there may be a hike in your utility bill if you don't reduce personal use of energy during certain times of the day. Then you watch the news and hear about floods going on in other parts of the country.
The heat for some has become an opportunity to spend more time outdoors. Although we hear of terms like heat illness, heat exhaustion, dehydration and so forth you may not understand the difference. Heat Stroke is more likely to effect those involved in intense outdoor activities and those age 50 or older. Do you know what to look for when someone is suffering a heat stroke? I want to give you some insight on this matter.

WebMD identifies Heat Stroke as:

The hallmark symptom of heat stroke is a core body temperature above 105 degrees Fahrenheit. But fainting may be the first sign.

Other symptoms may include:
Throbbing headache
Dizziness and light-headedness
Lack of sweating despite the heat
Red, hot, and dry skin
Muscle weakness or cramps
Nausea and vomiting
Rapid heartbeat, which may be either strong or weak
Rapid, shallow breathing
Behavioral changes such as confusion, disorientation, or staggering

What you should do if you or someone you know is suffering from a heat stroke: 
  • Call 911 first if possible (if not, by following these steps you may save a life. Call 911 as you proceed)
  • Have the person lie down on their back
  • Move the person to shaded area if outdoors or to an air conditioned room if indoors. Use a fan as an alternative or if someone else is present have them use a piece of card board or similar item to use as a manual fan to promote cooling air.
  • Remove unnecessary clothing if needed
  • Use a cool wet towel, sponge or water to help reduce the body temperature 
  • Use wet towels or similar items like ice packs to reduce body temperature by placing them at the back of the neck, arm pits, back and groin area.
  • You can also immerse the person in a tub filled with cool water but make sure the level of water is not so high you drown the victim. 
  • Let emergency staff take over once they arrive. 
Always be aware of your environment, current weather conditions and those around you. You could be saving someone's life as well as they can be saving your life if you suddenly start to feel any of the symptoms. Do be afraid to ask for help. 

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