Steppin' Out Magazine July 2015 - Page 17

Take Extra Precautions to Avoid Heat Illnesses The Alabama Department of Public Health advises the public to be alert to the warning signs of heat illnesses. National Weather Service offices have issued heat advisories for large portions of the state because of high temperatures and high heat indices. Heat-related illnesses occur when the body’s temperature control system is overloaded. The Alabama Department of Public Health cautions everyone to be alert to the warnings that may signal help is needed. Heat stroke, sometimes called sunstroke, is the most serious heat-related illness. It 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 degrees F or higher within 10 to 15 minutes. Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not provided. People should drink plenty of water, stay in an air-conditioned room, and keep out of the sun. The public should also check on the elderly and ensure pets have plenty of water to drink and shade to cool off. Warning Signs of Heat Stroke Vary, but Include the Following: •Red, hot and dry skin (no sweating) • Rapid, strong pulse • Throbbing headache • Dizziness • Nausea • Confusion • Unconsciousness • An extremely high body temperature (above 103 degrees F) First aid recommendations are to get the person to a shady area, cool rapidly in a tub of cool water, place in a cool shower, spray with cool water from a garden hose, splash with cool water, or, if the humidity is low, place in a cool, wet sheet and fan vigorously. Monitor body temperature and continue cooling efforts until the person’s body temperature drops to 101 to 102 degrees F. If emergency medical personnel are delayed, call a hospital emergency room for further instructions.