Heat Related Illnesses (cont.)
Infants and children up to four years of age are sensitive to the effects of high temperatures and rely on others to regulate their environments and provide adequate liquids. People 65 years of age or older may not compensate for heat stress efficiently, and are less likely to sense and respond to changes in temperature. Overweight people may be prone to heat sickness due to their body's tendency to retain more body heat. Any health condition that causes dehydration makes the body more susceptible to heat sickness. If you or someone you know is at higher risk, it is important to drink plenty of fluids; avoid over exertion; and get your doctor or pharmacist's advice about medications taken for high blood pressure, depression, nervousness, mental illness, insomnia, or poor circulation.
Hot weather health emergenciesEven short periods of high temperatures can cause serious health problems. Two common problems are heat stroke and heat exhaustion.
Heat StrokeHeat stroke occurs when the body becomes unable to control its temperature: the body's temperature rises rapidly, the sweating mechanism fails, and the body is unable to cool down. Body temperature may rise to 106°F or higher within 10-15 minutes. Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not given.
Recognizing Heat Stroke
What to Do
Sometimes a victim's muscles will begin to twitch uncontrollably as a result of heat stroke. If this happens, keep the victim from injuring himself, but do not place any object in the mouth and do not give fluids. If there is vomiting, make sure the airway remains open by turning the victim on his or her side.
Heat ExhaustionHeat exhaustion is the body's response to an excessive loss of water and salt contained in sweat. Those most prone to heat exhaustion are elderly people, people with high blood pressure and people working or exercising in a hot environment.
Recognizing Heat Exhaustion
The skin may be cool and moist. The victim's pulse rate will be fast and weak, and breathing will be fast and shallow. If heat exhaustion is untreated, it may progress to heat stroke. Seek medical attention immediately if:
Otherwise, help the victim to cool off, and seek medical attention if symptoms worsen or last longer than 1 hour.
What to Do