Heat Illness

May 23, 2014, is National Heat Awareness Day. High heat is a serious issue that leads to hundreds of deaths each year. Children are at a higher risk of dying from high temperatures.

 Did you know that the temperature inside a car left in the sun on an 80°F day can reach 123°F within an hour?

High heat can lead to dehydration, heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and the most serious, heat stroke (or sunstroke). Be alert for these symptoms of heat stroke and the recommended first aid:

HEAT STROKE (or sunstroke)

  • Symptoms:
    • Altered mental state
    • Possible throbbing headache, confusion, nausea, dizziness, shallow breathing
    • High body temperature (106°F or higher)
    • Skin may be hot and dry or the patient may be sweating
    • Rapid pulse
    • Possible unconsciousness
  • First Aid:
    • Heat stroke is a severe medical emergency. Summon emergency medical assistance or get the victim to a hospital immediately. Delay can be fatal.
    • Move the victim to a cooler, preferably air-conditioned, environment
    • Reduce body temperature with a water mister and fan or sponging
    • Use fan if heat index temperatures are below the high 90s
    • Use extreme caution
    • If temperature rises again, repeat process
    • Do NOT give fluids

Check out this Heat Illness crossword puzzle!

Source: National Weather Service, Arizona Department of Health Services


Preventing Heat-Related Illness

* Dress for the heat. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing and use a hat or umbrella.

* Drink water. Drink water or juice continuously even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid alcohol and caffeine, which dehydrate the body.

* Eat small meals and eat more often. Avoid high protein foods.

* Slow down. Plan strenuous activities around the coolest part of the day, which is in the morning between 4:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m.

* Stay indoors when possible.

* Take regular breaks.


Source: Arizona State University Global Institute of Sustainability

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