16 Aug 2011

First Aid for Heat Induced Illnesses

With the heat taking hold this summer I thought it was appropriate to offer information on First Aid for Heat-Induced Illnesses provided by FEMA. Since the best treatment is prevention, be sure to check out the following sections of our web site for Burn Care and Hydration Therapy!

Extreme heat brings with it the possibility of heat-induced illnesses. The following table lists these illnesses, their symptoms, and the first aid treatment.

Sunburn – Skin redness and pain, possible swelling, blisters, fever, headaches

  • Take a shower using soap to remove oils that may block pores, preventing the body from cooling naturally.
  • Apply dry, sterile dressings to any blisters, and get medical attention.

Heat Cramps – Painful spasms, usually in leg and abdominal muscles; heavy sweating

  • Get the victim to a cooler location.
  • Lightly stretch and gently massage affected muscles to relieve spasms.
  • Give sips of up to a half glass of cool water every 15 minutes. (Do not give liquids with caffeine or alcohol.)
  • Discontinue liquids, if victim is nauseated.

Heat Exhaustion – Heavy sweating but skin may be cool, pale, or flushed. Weak pulse. Normal body temperature is possible, but temperature will likely rise. Fainting or dizziness, nausea, vomiting, exhaustion, and headaches are possible.

  • Get victim to lie down in a cool place.
  • Loosen or remove clothing.
  • Apply cool, wet clothes.
  • Fan or move victim to air-conditioned place.
  • Give sips of water if victim is conscious.
  • Be sure water is consumed slowly.
  • Give half glass of cool water every 15 minutes.
  • Discontinue water if victim is nauseated.
  • Seek immediate medical attention if vomiting occurs.

Heat Stroke (a severe medical emergency) – High body temperature (105+); hot, red, dry skin; rapid, weak pulse; and rapid shallow breathing. Victim will probably not sweat unless victim was sweating from recent strenuous activity. Possible unconsciousness.

  • Call 9-1-1 or emergency medical services, or get the victim to a hospital immediately. Delay can be fatal.
  • Move victim to a cooler environment.
  • Removing clothing
  • Try a cool bath, sponging, or wet sheet to reduce body temperature.
  • Watch for breathing problems.
  • Use extreme caution.
  • Use fans and air conditioners.

Did You Know…

  • In a normal year, approximately 175 Americans die from extreme heat. Young children, elderly people, and those who are sick or overweight are more likely to become victims.
  • Because men sweat more than women, men are more susceptible to heat illness because they become more quickly dehydrated.
  • Sunburn can significantly slow the skin’s ability to release excess heat.
  • People living in urban areas may be at a greater risk from the effects of a prolonged heat wave than people living in rural regions. An increased health problem can occur when stagnant atmospheric conditions trap pollutants in urban areas, thus adding contaminated air to excessively hot temperatures.

 

Source: http://www.fema.gov/hazard/heat/heat_aid.shtm

Corporate, Emergency Preparedness, First Responders, Home & Travel, Research in Field Medicine | by

Leave a Reply