Heat-related illnesses are considered the number one cause of weather-related deaths in the United States. This type of death is preventable, but many people are unprepared to resist the extreme heat every year.

Minimize heat-related illnesses by understanding the signs and symptoms of these types of medical emergencies. You will have to be ready for certain preparations to avoid these conditions.

Since summer has come, it is a high chance for anyone to have a heat injury.

The types of heat-related injuries are:

  • Heat cramps,
  • Heat exhaustion,
  • Heat stroke.

Signs and Symptoms

Heat Cramps:  Cramping in arms and legs, stomach pains or cramps, and excessive sweating.

Heat Exhaustion: profuse sweating with pale, moist and cool skin, headache, weakness, dizziness, loss of appetite, cramping, nausea (with or without vomiting), an urge to defecate, chills, rapid breathing, tingling in the hands and feet, and confusion (not answering easy questions correctly).

Heat Stroke:  Red, hot, dry skin, weakness, dizziness, confusion, headache, seizures, nausea, abdominal cramps, rapid and weak respiration and pulse, unconsciousness and collapse may occur suddenly.

What Should You Do for The Person in Pain?

  1. Monitor the patient mental status by asking simple questions such as “What is your name?” or “Do you know where you are?”
  2. Move the patient to a cool, covered place or stretch out a blanket at the four corners and tie them off on trees to provide shade.
  3. Loosen the patient’s clothing and footgear to balance his body temperature. Then pour water on the patient and provide ventilation.
  4. If the patient has not lost consciousness, make him or her drink at least a quart of water.
  5. If you’re in the woods/a field environment, take a t-shirt and soak it in cool water, and apply it to the patient’s skin. The colder the water, the better. It will have an extremely rapid effect on bringing the patient’s core body temperature down.
  6. Don’t allow the patient to partake in strenuous physical activity for the rest of the day.
  7. Massage the patient’s arms and legs to allow the blood to flow continuously. Elevate the patient’s legs.
  8. Closely monitor the patient for any life threatening conditions (if they stop breathing, or if they suffer a heart attack).
  9. If the cramps persist, seek immediate medical attention.
  10. Monitor the patient until the symptoms have left and emergency authorities arrive.

If there is any delay in first aid and definitive treatment, heat injury stroke is a condition that may result in the patient’s death!

Prevention is vital especially with heat injuries. 

Know the limitations of your family or group members when you are on an excursion somewhere.

Drink one quart of water every hour to two hours, depending on your level of activity. It is critical to stay hydrated and drink water before you feel thirsty because that means your body is signaling that it’s already dehydrated.

In a hot, physically-stressful/active environment, children and the elderly are particularly at risk.

Gatorade or Powerade can replace both fluid and electrolytes in an emergency such as a heat injury. So, you can take with you these beverages.

Protect your body from any weaknesses that may arise from dehydration.

Take care and monitor each team member of your group. 

To ensure that thirst does not develop further into a heat injury, observe the most vulnerable members of the group.

Don’t struggle too hard regarding your activities and take frequent rest breaks.  In this way, you can maintain balance for everyone and ensure that all are up to speed for the fun that you have in the outdoors.

No emergency is not too small to treat.

Do you think this information helps you out? Do you believe in weather-related deaths or do you think that’s a joke? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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