How To Stay Safe in Extreme Heat
Thursday, June 21, 2012
What are the five things Rhode Islanders should do right now to best handle the heat for the next few days?
There are several precautions people can take to protect themselves from the heat. These include: wearing light clothing; staying in cooler environments when possible (staying out of the sun, use fans or air conditioners when possible); drinking plenty of non-alcoholic fluids; restricting activity to avoid heat exhaustion and heat stroke; and watching out for others who might not be aware of these dangers, or who cannot help themselves, such as children and seniors.
What are the warning signs of heat stroke?
Simple heat exhaustion involves symptoms of heavy sweating, muscle cramps, nausea, weakness, and headache.
More serious is when heat exhaustion progresses to heat stroke. This has symptoms which include warm dry skin, fever, confusion, agitation, seizures, having difficulty breathing, headache, nausea, vomiting.
If someone experiences those symptoms, what should they do?
If you are experiencing symptoms of heat exhaustion, or if you see someone who is, get yourself or them to a cooler environment begin rapid rehydration by drinking water or sports drinks. Applying cool moist towels to the skin, or spritzing the skin with water also can help.
At what point should someone call the doctor?
Simple heat exhaustion, which often can be treated at home by the above methods. If the symptoms aren’t resolved quickly, or begin to progress to heat stroke, this is a serious medical emergency and you should go to your nearest emergency department for treatment.
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