Summer is here and the temperature is climbing. With the mercury already reaching into the 90’s it is very important to be safe when you and your family are enjoying the Florida summer. The National Weather Service reports that heat is one of the leading weather-related killers in the United States. Below are some simple tips to beat the heat and symptoms to be aware of if you think someone is suffering from a heat related illness.
- Listen to your local weather – be aware of how hot it is going to be for the day. Pay attention not only to the temperature but also to the heat index. The high humidity can make 89˚ feel like 104˚.
- Keep a bottle of water with you – carrying a bottle of water with you is an easy way to stay hydrated. The high heat can dehydrate you very easily. Make sure to fill up your water bottle and refill it when you’re finished.
- Try to avoid being outside in the middle of the day – the day is hottest between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. If you must to be outside during this time, try and find shade when available. If it is not necessary, try being outside before or after this time.
- Wear protective and cool clothing – if you’re going to be outside wear clothing that protects your body and keeps it cool. Wearing a hat and sunglasses is a good way to protect your face. If you have dry fit or moisture wicking clothing, wear that when you’re outside. This technology will help you stay cool.
Heat-Related Illness Symptoms and First Aid from the National Weather Service.
- Painful muscle cramps and spasms usually in legs and abdomen
- Heavy sweating
- Apply firm pressure on cramping muscles or gentle massage to relieve spasm.
- Give sips of water, if nausea occurs, discontinue water
- Heavy sweating
- Cool, pale, clammy skin
- Weak pulse
- Possible muscle cramps
- Nausea and vomiting
- Normal temperature possible
- Move person to a cooler environment
- Remove or loosen clothing
- Apply cool, wet cloths
- Fan or move victim to air conditioned room
- Offer sips of water. If nausea occurs, discontinue water. If vomiting continues, seek immediate medical attention.
Heat Stroke (or sunstroke)
- 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 patient may be sweating
- Rapid pulse
- Possible unconsciousness
- 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