Kicking the Heat!
Over the last few weeks, the weather in the Ozarks has been consistently humid and HOT. Regardless of our age, weather affects how we work and play outdoors. With temperatures consistently near or above 100 degrees, we thought a few tips on identifying and treating heat rash, heat exhaustion and heat stroke were in order.
Although similar to sunburn in terms of appearance, a heat rash is caused when sweat is trapped under your skin. The symptoms range from superficial blisters to deep, red lumps. Think you’ve got a case of heat rash? Keep your skin cool to reduce sweating. A minor heat rash will clear up with very little treatment. If irritation occurs, simply apply calamine lotion to the heat rash to relieve discomfort.
All the recent warm weather has made us an outdoor worker, sports spectator, or sports enthusiast. With all these out of doors activities, heat exhaustion can easily sneak up on anyone. Heat exhaustion occurs when your body has lost a significant amount of salt and/or water. Signs of heat exhaustion include: feeling faint, dizziness, nausea, heavy sweating, rapid/weak heartbeat, low blood pressure, low-grade fever, headache, fatigue, and even dark colored urine. Heat exhaustion should be treated immediately by getting out of the sun and into a shady or air-conditioned location. Someone with heat exhaustion should drink plenty of non-alcoholic and non-caffeinated beverages. Often, a victim of heat exhaustion will feel relief by lying down on their back with their feet and legs slightly elevated. Those monitoring the victim of heat exhaustion should watch closely as the victim may develop heat stroke.
Development of heat stroke can literally take 10 to 15 minutes. When your body can no longer cool itself and it becomes its own oven, reaching greater than 104 degrees Fahrenheit, you’ve officially become a victim of heat stroke. Because heat strokes are the most severe heat-related health problem, they should be taken very seriously and signs and symptoms should not be overlooked. More often than not, heat stroke will cause:
- Personality changes
- Confusion, sometimes coma
- Rapid heartbeat
- Shallow breathing
- Elevated OR lowered blood pressure
Treating heat stroke requires the victim to be removed from the heat and/or sun into a shaded or air-conditioned location, and a friend or loved one should immediately call 9-1-1. If the heat stroke victim is able, have them drink a non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated beverage such as water, and cool them off with a damp cloth, or fan them with a newspaper, or magazine. Continue to cool off the heat stroke victim until emergency medical personnel arrive.