Be Ready the heat is about to go on!!

With hot and humid weather in our forecast, provider will begin to see more heat related emergencies.                    The most commonly seen heat emergency is HEAT(muscle) CRAMPS.  The is no major changes in body temperature.  Common signs/symptoms are muscle cramping in arms, legs or abdomen.  Rest, cooling and fluid is the best treatment.                                                                                                                                                                                The second is HEAT EXHAUSTION, this is where the is not enough internal body fluid to cool and meet the bodies need.  Overexertion/exercise in combination to high heat results in the loss of 1-2 liters of body fluid thru the skin.  Body temperature may rise to 101 degrees.  Wet skin, rapid breathing, weak & rapid pulse, headache, anxiety and impaired judgement are common signs/symptoms.  Cooling the body and replacement of body fluid (either by mouth or by IV ‘s) are essential.                                                                                                                                                      The third and most serious is HEAT STROKE where the normal cooling mechanism in the body is not working.  The body temperature will rise to 105 degrees or higher.  Signs/symptoms most commonly seen include dry or mild perspiration, rapid full pulse, confusion and possible seizures.  This is a true emergency and treatment includes IV fluid replacement and medical evaluation.

Common treatment guidelines include the use of water for fluid replacement as long as the person can swallow or IV fluid replacement for confused or unconscious patients.  ICE should never be used to cool a person off!  Application of room temperature water to the skin, removal of the person to a shady or cool are is the best way to gradually cool a heat exposure person.