During hot weather, it is important to take preventive steps against heat-related illnesses. Anyone may suffer from heat related injuries. Electric fans can provide comfort and relief to those who cannot cope with the heat for health reasons.
People who do not have electric fans or air conditioners are highly susceptible to life-threatening situations that could be avoided if they were able to remain cool.
In addition to using electric fans, it is wise to:
- Cool off by taking baths or showers or placing ice bags or wet towels on your body. Stay out of direct sunlight and avoid strenuous activity.
- Wear light weight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing that permits sweat to evaporate.
- Drink plenty of liquids such as water, fruit or vegetable juices and iced tea to replace the fluids lost by sweating. Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages and fluids that have high salt content, since salt can complicate existing medical problems, such as high blood pressure.
- Take the heat seriously, and do not ignore danger signs like nausea, dizziness, and fatigue.
While heightened awareness is needed for the elderly, anyone may suffer from heat stress. Learn to recognize the symptoms:
Occurs when people are constantly exposed to hot, humid air, causing a rash. Heat rash not only causes discomfort, it also substantially reduces the body's ability to sweat.
Cleanse the affected area thoroughly and dry completely. Calamine or other soothing lotions may help relieve the discomfort.
Symptoms may include excessive sweating and muscle cramps in legs and possibly in the stomach.
Move to a cool location and/or apply gentle pressure to the muscles. Drink fluids (preferably water) to replace fluids lost via sweat.
Symptoms may include clammy or pale skin, sweating, rapid or shallow breathing, and headaches.
Cool the person with water, and move to a cool area. Give liquids such as water.
Can be life threatening. Signs may include red or flushed face, dry and hot skin, no sweat and body temperature of 105 degrees Fahrenheit or greater. The person also can become confused and lose consciousness.
Cool victim as quickly as possible and in stages. Pour cool water on the victim's clothes. Use cold applications to wrists, sides of neck, underarms, and groin. An ice water bath may be necessary. Seek medical treatment immediately.