There are some who don’t mind our recent heat wave. And relatively dry summer days. After all, our winters are long and cold. Golfers, swimmers, and boaters come to mind. For them, soaring temps and intermittent rain mean fun in the sun.
But we caution everyone that heat can be tough on the body. The most serious heat related illness is heat stroke. But heat exhaustion and heat related muscle cramps are also dangerous.
We checked with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) for information on heat related illnesses with their symptoms. Thing is, heat can cause problems very quickly. So read through this article so you’re at least aware of what’s happening and know what to do.
Heat stroke happens when your body can’t control its temperature. Your body’s temperature quickly rises, your sweating mechanism fails, and you’re unable to cool down. And it may take just ten to fifteen minutes for your body temp to rise to 106 degrees or higher! This can cause permanent disability, even death if you don’t get emergency treatment.
Here are the symptoms to look for:
- Confusion, altered mental status, slurred speech
- Loss of consciousness (coma)
- Hot, dry skin or profuse sweating
- Very high body temperature
What to do:
- Call 911 for emergency care.
- Move person to a shaded, cooler area.
- Remove outer clothing.
- Quickly cool the person with cold water or an ice bath, if you can. Or use cold wet cloths on the skin or soak clothing with cool water. Focus on the head, neck, armpits, and groin.
Heat exhaustion mainly affects the elderly, people with high blood pressure, and those working in a hot environment. It’s caused by an excessive loss of water and salt.
Symptoms to look for:
- Headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness
- Heavy sweating
- Elevated body temperature
- Decreased urine output
What to do:
- Take the person to a clinic or emergency room or call 911.
- Give person liquids to drink.
- Take off shoes and socks and any other unnecessary clothing.
- Have person wash their head, face, and neck with cold water.
If you sweat a lot during strenuous activity you may get heat cramps. That’s because sweating depletes the body of salt and moisture. Low salt levels cause muscle cramps, pain, or spasms in the abdomen, arms or legs.
What to do:
- Drink water and replace carbohydrates and electrolytes, such as with sports drinks, every 15 to 20 minutes.
- Avoid salt tablets.
- Get medical help if you have heart problems, are on a low sodium diet, or have cramps that don’t get better within one hour.
Enjoy But Be Careful in the Central New York Heat
There’s more that can happen because of the heat: heat rash, heat syncope, and rhabdomyolysis. We suggest you check out the link above to get informed on these.
But like any activity in life, be careful and stay alert. If you feel any of the symptoms above coming on, take a break. Get inside, drink water, and rest. You’ll be glad you did.
Enjoy the rest of our beautiful Mohawk Valley summer!
Until next time,
Your SZW Team
SZW Insurance is your Utica area Trusted Choice™ independent insurance agent. Call us for a quote on insurance for your home, car, business, or life at 315.792.0000. Or request a quote here.