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Heat Wave

What is a heat wave?

A heat is a prolonged period of hot weather that is sometimes accompanied by humidity. While there is no universal definition, the term is relative to the usual weather in the area. Severe heat waves can cause death from hypothermia, destruction of crops and widespread power outages. In case of a power outage, it is important to stock up lighting and heating, first aid kits and battery operated radios.

Dangers of extreme heat exposureHeat Wave

Extreme heat exposure occurs when the body’s temperature cannot maintain a normal temperature. Usually sweating will cool the body but sometimes it is not enough. Brain damage and organ damage can happen if the body temperature remains too high for too long. When humidity is high, sweat cannot evaporate quickly enough and prevents the body from releasing heat.

Conditions that can limit the ability to regulate body temperature are:

  • People over 65
  • Youth (0-4)
  • Obesity
  • Fever
  • Dehydration
  • Poor circulation
  • Mental Illness
  • Prescription Drugs
  • Heart Disease
  • Alcohol Use

Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is a heat related illness that occurs when the body cannot regulate its temperature. Sweating stops, body’s temperature rises rapidly and is unable to cool down. Heat stroke can cause permanent disability or death if treatment is not given.

Warning Signs

  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Headache
  • Rapid pulse
  • Red, hot, dry skin (no sweating)
  • High body temperature over 103 F
  • Unconsciousness

Treatment

Call for medical assistance or have someone call 911 immediately.

Then do the following:

  • Move person to shady area
  • Use garden hose or any cool water to cool off the person
  • Call emergency room for further instructions, if Emergency Personnel are delayed
  • Do not give the person alcohol

Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion is a milder form of heat-related illness that can progress after several days of exposure to high temperatures. This happens after exposure to high temperature with inadequate hydration. People prone to heat exhaustion are those with high blood pressure, those working in a hot environment and the elderly.

Warning Signs

  • Paleness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fainting
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Heavy Sweating
  • Tiredness
  • Muscle Cramps
  • Weakness

Treatment

Hydrate by drinking cool beverages

Rest

Wear light clothing

Find a cool place to rest

Take a cool shower or bath

Prevention

If at all possible, stay in a cool air conditioned room and make sure to drink plenty of water. Emergency water supplies are important to keep to prevent lack of a water source in case of a heat wave. Do not take salt tablets unless they are prescribed by your doctor. Wear loose fitting clothing. If you work outside, pace yourself.

More Articles:

Hot Weather Can Be As Dangerous As Cold

Beware Over Exposure To The Sun