Medics Advise on Preventing and Giving First Aid for Deadly Heat Illness
June 26, 2009— With an early summer heat wave stifling the area, paramedics at Hunt Regional Emergency Services have issued tips for preventing potentially fatal heat illness and providing first aid when heat illness strikes.
Never leave a child or elderly person unattended in a motor vehicle, even with a window slightly open. This applies to pets as well. On a typically sunny day, the temperature inside a vehicle can reach potentially deadly levels within a few minutes.
When restraining children in a car that has been parked in the heat, check to make sure seating surfaces and equipment (car seats and seat belt buckles) are not overly hot.
What are the warning signs of a heat stroke?
Who is at greatest risk for heat-related illness?
During hot weather you need to drink more liquid than your thirst indicates. Drink water or commercial “sport drinks” frequently. Drink before you start strenuous work and before you get hot. Don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink. Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine because they will cause you to lose more fluid.
What to do if you see someone with the warning signs of a heat stroke:
What is the best clothing for hot weather or a heat wave? Wear as little clothing as possible while at home. Choose lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. An umbrella, parasol or loose-weave hat will provide some shade. Apply sunscreen 30 minutes prior to going outdoors and continue to reapply periodically. Sunburn affects your body’s ability to cool itself and causes a loss of body fluids.
Can medications increase the risk of heat-related illness? Yes. The risk may increase for those using psychotropics (e.g. haloperidol or chlorpromazine), medications for Parkinson’s disease because they can inhibit perspiration, and tranquilizers (e.g. phenothiazines, butyrophenones and thiozanthenes).
:Summary: How can we protect our health when temperatures are extremely high?
Sources: National Safe Kids Campaign and the National Center for Environmental Health.