Heat Related Illness Prevention and Treatment

by SKHC Editor on July 24, 2009

Summer is in full effect and many of us are taking advantage of the great temperatures. No matter what age you are it’s important to protect yourself from direct sunlight and hot environments while you’re working or playing outdoors.

Being in a high temperature and humid environment makes you susceptible to heat-induced illnesses such as heat cramps, heat exhaustion or even a heat stroke. It’s imperative that you take proper to precautions (such as drinking enough water, reducing physical activity, wearing light, loose-fitting clothing and take regular breaks in a nice cool area) to reduce your chances of illness or death. While we’re talking about precautions don’t forget to slather on the sunscreen about 20 minutes before heading outside as well.

If you suspect someone is suffering from a heat related illness here’s a summary of what you can do to help them:

Heat cramps: Rest, drink water or an electrolyte solution (AKA sports drink such as Gatorade) – stretching or applying direct pressure on the muscles may help relieve cramping.

Heat exhaustion: Lie down and rest in a cool, shady location, elevating feet about 12 inches above the head – drink water or an electrolyte solution, IV fluids may be administered if available. Untreated heat exhaustion could lead to a heat stroke.

Heat stroke: Rapid cooling is necessary – place ice in the armpits and groin area, dampen with a water spray, wet sponges or wet towels as well as use a fan to blow air on the victim. Cool IV fluids should be infused if available. It is not recommended to cover or immerse the victim in ice. Remember that heat stroke is a medical emergency and a life-threatening condition – every attempt should be made to get the victim to an emergency department ASAP.

Sources: EHSToday.com, WebMD.com

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: