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Extreme Heat

By on June 2, 2011

The unofficial start of summer is here and so are the hotter temperatures. Just like severe cold weather, severe heat is nothing to take lightly. Be prepared. Heat exhaustion can kill.

Heat exhaustion is a milder form of heat-related illness. It usually comes over a person after prolonged exposure to high temperatures and inadequate replacement of the right type of fluids. Those most prone to heat exhaustion are elderly people, people with high blood pressure, and people working or exercising in a hot environment. And even young children can be at risk so be especially alert when assessing symptoms in older and younger people.
Warning signs of heat exhaustion include:

  • heavy sweating
  • paleness
  • muscle cramps
  • tiredness
  • weakness
  • dizziness
  • headache
  • nausea or vomiting
  • fainting

It’s also important to note that a person suffering from heat exhaustion can have cool and moist skin. So also consider the person’s pulse
rate (likely will be fast and weak), and breathing will be fast and shallow. If heat exhaustion is untreated, it may progress to heat stroke, which is a medical emergency. Seek medical attention and call 911 immediately for a heat stroke.

As for heat exhaustion, there are things you can do at home to treat it properly. Cooling measures that may be effective include:

  • drink cool,  non-alcoholic beverages, as directed by your physician
  • rest, get lots of rest
  • take a cool shower,  bath, or sponge bath
  • get to an  air-conditioned environment
  • wear lightweight  clothing, a breathable fabric (e.g. cotton, linen)

So now that you have the facts about heat exhaustion and can identify symptoms and ways to address it on contact, have a great summer and be safe. And don’t forget to wear sun screen. Even darker skinned people can benefit from sunscreen.

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