During South Carolina summers, not only does the temperature rise, but the heat index heads into dangerous territory. Hot weather is not to be taken lightly.
Older adults dehydrate rapidly and need to observe the following rules to ensure that they do not suffer from heat-related problems, especially if they do not have air conditioning in their homes.
This is also a good time of the year to join your local senior center where you can receive nourishing meals, stay cool and meet new friends. Have a happy and safe summer, everyone.
When working or exercising outdoors during summer, it's extremely important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of heat-related illness, and to take steps to prevent it. The following information, compiled by the American Red Cross, can help you avoid heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
Warm weather means activities and fun under the sun! Whether you love putting on shorts and feeling the warm outdoors, or find it hot and sticky, everyone must be careful not to let a heat-related illness spoil the day.
Normally, the body has ways of keeping itself cool, by letting heat escape through the skin, and by evaporating sweat (perspiration). If the body does not cool properly or does not cool enough, the victim may suffer a heat-related illness. Anyone can be susceptible although the very young and very old are at greater risk. Heat-related illnesses can become serious or even deadly if unattended.
Preventing Heat-Related Illness
Know What These Heat-Related Terms Mean
Stages of Heat-Related Illness
Heat-related illness usually comes in stages. The signal of the first stage is heat cramps in muscles. These cramps can be very painful. If you are caring for a person who has heat cramps, have him or her stop activity and rest. If the person is fully awake and alert, have him or her drink small amounts of cool water or a commercial sports drink. Gently stretch the cramped muscle and hold the stretch for about 20 seconds, then gently massage the muscle. Repeat these steps if necessary. If the victim has no other signals of heat-related illness, the person may resume activity after the cramps stop.
The signals of the next, more serious stage of a heat-related illness (often called heat exhaustion) include--
The signals of the late stage of a heat-related illness (often called heat stroke) include--
This late stage of a heat-related illness is life threatening. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.
General Care for Heat Emergencies
For heat cramps or heat exhaustion: Get the person to a cooler place and have him or her rest in a comfortable position. If the person is fully awake and alert, give a half glass of cool water every 15 minutes. Do not let him or her drink too quickly. Do not give liquids with alcohol or caffeine in them, as they can make conditions worse. Remove or loosen tight clothing and apply cool, wet cloths such as towels or wet sheets. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number if the person refuses water, vomits or loses consciousness.
For heat stroke: Heat stroke is a life-threatening situation! Help is needed fast. Call 9-1-1 or your local EMS number. Move the person to a cooler place. Quickly cool the body. Wrap wet sheets around the body and fan it. If you have ice packs or cold packs, wrap them in a cloth and place them on each of the victim's wrists and ankles, in the armpits and on the back and sides of the neck to cool the large blood vessels. (Do not use rubbing alcohol because it closes the skin's pores and prevents heat loss.) Watch for signals of breathing problems and make sure the airway is clear. Keep the person lying down.
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