Summer is probably the best time of the year for many, if not all of us. The summer heat is something that people long for. It’s the best time to go on vacation, swimming, holiday, and picnic. Some even plan on spending a vacation to favorite tropical destinations. But before you head off for some exciting summer activity, be sure to protect yourself against summer heat.
This summer, the heat is expected to be record high in many parts of North America. And when summer comes, heat-related emergencies are not uncommon. It would be best to take some time to know more about what to do in case such emergencies occur. If you plan to go to some hot places abroad, then you definitely have to learn first aid for heat-related emergencies that include heat cramps, heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
In order to provide prompt and proper first aid, you have to know how to recognize the condition by identifying the symptoms. Only then, can you give effective first aid.
Many people are not familiar with heat cramps. This condition is characterized by dizziness or faintness; stiff and board-like abdomen; extreme exhaustion; nausea and vomiting; and possibly severe muscle cramps. Usually, the person will have normal mental status but may gradually decline if not treated.
Your initial first aid should be to cool the person down by getting him out of the hot environment. Move into a cooler place, remove tight clothing, and give them water to drink
– only when conscious.
Heat exhaustion occurs when a person exerts physical effort in a hot environment. It is characterized by moist, clammy skin; pale; weak; feeling dizzy; headache; and nausea and vomiting.
Again, the initial treatment is to move the person away from the hot environment, gradually cool them down, remove tight clothing, and give them water, only when conscious. Usually, the person improves condition after he has cooled down. But if the person continue to get worse or loses consciousness, call your local emergency phone number or 911. Monitor for breathing and pulse. Be ready to provide CPR if the person stops breathing.
Compared with the first two heat-related emergencies, heat stroke is considered more lifethreatening. This results when the body loses its ability to regulate core temperature. It is characterized by very high body temperature, reddish or flushed skin, wet or dry skin, and unconsciousness (often leading to coma). The key in recognizing heat stroke is: very high body temperature and coma.
Heat stroke is a true medical emergency that requires immediate first aid. If you identify or suspect heat stroke, call 911 right away. Keep the person cool by moving him away from the heat source. DO NOT give anything to drink or eat, including water. Monitor the breathing and pulse. Initiate CPR if the victim’s breathing and heart beat stops.
Finally, be first aid trained! By taking a first aid and CPR training course, you will be prepared to handle such emergencies.