This summer, the heat has been breaking records all over the country…so, I just wanted to take some time to share some information on what to do in the case of a heat related emergency, such as heat cramps, heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
One of the most important things to do when trying to figure out how to TREAT something is being able to identify the SYMPTOMS in order to determine the CONDITION. Only then, can you administer effective TREATMENT.
Let’s start with heat cramps, since that’s the one that most people are probably least familiar with.
You know someone has heat cramps if they experience faintness or dizziness, extreme exhaustion, a stiff, board-like abdomen, possible nausea and vomiting, and still have normal mental status, but are experiencing severe muscle cramps/pain.
If someone is suffering from heat cramps, get that person out of the hot environment and cool them down as much as possible. Remove tight clothing and give them water to drink, if they’re able to.
Now, let’s move on to what heat exhaustion looks like…
You know someone has heat exhaustion if they are pale, have moist, clammy skin, are weak, dizzy or faint, have a headache and are experiencing nausea and vomiting.
The best way to treat someone suffering from heat exhaustion is to, again, get them out of the hot environment, remove clothing as necessary, gently cool them down, and give them water if tolerated.
If the person does not improve or becomes unconscious, call 911. Begin CPR if the person is not breathing properly or is unconscious.
For CPR training, click HERE to register and get started.
And finally, let’s talk about heat stroke.
One important thing to note is that heat stroke is much more life-threatening than the others.
You know someone has heat stroke if they have a very high body temperature. and they are in a coma or a near coma. Their skin will usually be red, but may be wet or dry.
The key to identifying heat stroke is the extremely high body temp and the coma or near coma state.
Once you’ve identified that someone is experiencing heat stroke, call 911 immediately. Get that person out of the hot environment, and remove clothing as necessary. Gently cool them down, but give nothing to eat or drink, including water.
Begin CPR, as you wait for the paramedics to arrive.
PS: For more information on heat related emergencies, watch this short video.