Heat Exhaustion First Aid
When temperatures rise so does the risk of heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Being outdoors in hot humid weather can quickly lead to dehydration.
- Excessive sweating
- Muscle cramps
Later more serious signs may occur:
- Nausea and Vomiting
- Cool, moist skin
- Dark urine
First Aid Treatment for Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke are much the same and is as follows:
- If a person has a temperature of 40°C (104°F) or displays any of the symptoms of heatstroke seek medical help immediately
- Remove the person from the heat
- Remove clothing and have the person lie down
- Elevate the feet slightly about 30 cm (12 inches)
- Place a cold compress on the head, neck, groin and under the armpits
- Use fans to cool down the body
- If the person affected is awake you can place them in a cool bath or if outside spray gently with a garden hose
- If the person is awake encourage them to sip a salt beverage. Gatorade, or similar, or a teaspoon of salt in a 4 cups/a quart of water. Drink half a cup every 15 minutes. Cool water is also acceptable
- If muscle cramping is a problem massage the cramp gently until the muscle relaxes. Muscle cramps are extremely painful so be guided by the person as to how hard or gentle to be.
- Watch for signs of shock (bluish lips and fingernails, loss of alertness) call your local emergency services immediately
Some DO NOT's:
- DO NOT underestimate the seriousness of heat exhaustion and heat stroke especially in children.
- DO NOT give a child or person aspirin or pain killers. These will not help.
- DO NOT give salt tablets.
- DO NOT give any liquids that contain alcohol or caffeine. These are diuretics and will hinder the body's ability to re-hydrate.
- DO NOT use alcohol rubs on the body.
- DO NOT give an affected person any liquids (including salt drinks) if the person is vomiting or losing consciousness.
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Photo by Tom Woodward - Flickr