Hot weather triggers a variety of medical emergencies. Even healthy people should take it easy during extremely high temperatures, and those with respiratory and other health problems must be especially careful. Stay out of the sun as much as possible. Drink extra fluids, but avoid alcoholic beverages. Alcohol can cause dehydration.
The best ways to prevent a sun-stress emergency are:
- Drink before you are thirsty and drink often to replace body electrolytes
- Eat a healthy diet.
- Wear a ventilated, wide-brimmed hat or cap, keep the neck covered and wear loose fitting clothing.
- If you can, work in the cool hours of the day or evening.
Heat-related injuries fall into three major categories: Heat Cramps, Heat Exhaustion, and Heatstroke.
Heat Cramps - are muscular pains and spasms that occur when the body loses electrolytes during profuse sweating or when inadequate electrolytes are taken into the body. They usually begin in the arms, legs or abdomen, and often precede heat exhaustion. A person suffering from heat cramp(s) should rest in the shade, get near a fan, spray the affected area(s) with water and massage the cramp(s).
Heat Exhaustion - is a medical emergency. When a person is suffering from heat exhaustion, he or she will perspire profusely and most likely will be pale. A person suffering from heat exhaustion should relocate to a cool place, apply cool compresses, elevate the feet and drink plenty of fluids.
Heatstroke - is the most serious heat-related injury because the brain loses its ability to regulate body temperature. The person will be hot, reddish and warm to the touch. The person’s temperature will be markedly high and there will be no perspiration. This is a medical emergency. Call 9-1-1! The emergency care of heatstroke is to cool the body as quickly as possible. One of the best methods for cooling the body during a heat emergency is to wrap the person in cool, wet sheets.