THE POST SIGNAL
CROWLEY – It’s summer time, a time for some fun in the sun. Whether you love playing sports or just enjoy swinging on the porch, everyone must be careful not to let a heat-related illness spoil your leisure activities.
Normally, the body has natural ways to keep itself cool, by letting heat escape through the skin, and by evaporating sweat. If the body does not cool properly, a person may suffer a heat-related illness, especially those who are very old or very young, who are much more vulnerable to these illnesses. Heat-related illnesses can become extremely serious, even deadly, if unattended.
Gina Miller, Nurse Practitioner for Acadia Family Clinic, recommends playing it safe by staying indoors between the hours of 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. if possible. “Lately in our region though, the hottest times have been late evening, around 6 p.m.
Miller also recommends that on days that you spend outdoors, wearing loose, light clothing and staying hydrated are the best preventative measures to avoid having heat stroke. “Absolutely do not drink alcohol, as it will dehydrate the body faster,” she states.
Heat-related illnesses usually happen in stages, so it is important you recognize them early. The first stage is heat cramps in the muscles. Headaches, dizziness, exhaustion, confusion, nausea, and hot skin, are all signs of heat exhaustion, with each stage becoming more life-threatening. The signals of the late stage of a heat-related illness, known as sun or heat stroke, are: vomiting, decreased alertness level, or even loss of consciousness, high body temperature up to 105, a rapid or weak pulse, and rapid or shallow breathing.
If you notice these symptoms, Miller warns, in you or someone else, get out of the sun immediately. Remove clothes and pour water on the victim. “Never submerge the person in ice. Only use ice packs under the groin and arm pits,”
During a heat emergency, general care includes cooling the body, giving fluids, and minimizing shock. A 911 call should also be made during this time.
The Red Cross organization provides detailed information about this topic on its website, which is www.redcross.org.