Dangers of summer heat

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By Ben Loyall

With summer temperatures going up the possibility of heat-related illness does as well. Heat exhaustion, which can lead to heat stroke, is a common issue during hot temperatures.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, hot summer days call for special care when you plan on spending the day outside.

Before you head outdoors, keep yourself cool indoors. Even if you’re only inside for a few hours, that will prepare your body to go out into the heat.

When you do go outside, dress appropriately. Choose lightweight, light colored, and loose fitting clothing. When scheduling plans try to do them during the cool times of the day, and wear sunscreen. Sunburn can affect your body’s ability to cool down, which can leave you dehydrated.

Pace yourself when it comes to exercise or work. If a physical activity leaves you with shortness of breath and a pounding heart, it is time to take a break. Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated. Sweating removes water and salt from your body. Sports drinks are a helpful way to replace salt and minerals.

Heat Exhaustion

Sweat is the body’s natural attempt to cool itself when it is getting too hot. Heat exhaustion is possible when the body loses a majority of that water and salt through sweating.

According to the National Safety Council, symptoms include: sweating, pale or moist skin, muscle cramps, fatigue such as weakness or exhaustion, headaches, dizziness, fainting, nausea, or a rapid heart rate.

Heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke if left untreated. Get the victim to a cool area, such as shade or an air-conditioned building. Find a cool liquid, preferably water, for the victim to keep them hydrated. You can also place a wet towel on the victim, or the victim can take a cool shower.

The best way to avoid heat exhaustion is to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated while working playing, or lounging outdoors or in any hot environment.

Heat Stroke

If a person is suffering from a heat stroke their skin may be red, dry, hot to the touch, and they are not sweating. The victim may breath rapidly, they may behave in an irrational manor, their body temperature may be above 103 degrees, and the victim may suffer from headaches, dizziness, or confusion. In severe cases the victim may suffer from convulsions or unresponsiveness.

Immediate action should be taken if someone is showing signs of a heat stroke. Call 911, find a cool place to move the victim to, immediately cool the victim by moving them to a cooler area, immerse the victim in cold water, and keep cooling them until their body temperature lowers while monitoring their breathing.

Do not force the victim to drink liquids, apply rubbing alcohol to their skin, or allow the victim to ingest pain relievers.