With summer coming and outdoor sports in full swing a quick review of what to look for when it comes to heat illness is in order.
Heat Cramps: is a mild muscle contraction typically in the lower leg and abdomen. Body temperature will be normal and the skin will still me moist. Drink water, find a cool shady place to sit and perform some gentle stretching.
Heat Exhaustion: skin will be moist and either redder than normal or paler, body temperature will be above normal. Nausea, dizziness and exhaustion are also common. Stop activity, find a cool shady place, drink water, loosen tight clothing, fan the body and if able put cool water on the skin.
Heat Stroke: this is the most severe form of heat illness and is a medical emergency. Body temperature is above 41 celcius, skin is hot and dry, irritable and bizarre behaviour is common. Pulse will be weak and rapid accompanied with rapid shallow breaths. There willbe a progressive loss of conciousness, EMS must be called along with the following care, place the person in a cool setting and cool the body any way possible.
Pit is much easier to avoid heat illness than treat it. During hot temperatures and increases in humidity, avoid being outside during peak hours of 11 am - 4 pm. Wear sunscreen, a hat and light clothing. Drink plenty of water. If you must be outside take breaks in a cool, shady place. Prevention is always the first step in injury management.
references used for this article
Canadian Red Cross First Aid Manual