Tips to prevent a heat stroke

Tips to prevent a heat stroke

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - With temperatures reaching 90 degrees, it’s important you stay cool to prevent possible heat exhaustion and even worse, a heat stroke.

“Heat stroke is a medical emergency,” said Derrick Shaw, Hattiesburg Fire Department Captain and registered EMT.

Here are the warning signs you need to be aware of.

“You need to call 9-1-1 and get medical personnel in route. You will be very confused," Shaw said. "Possibly could even pass out.”

This is due to the body over heating. Shaw said with a combination of temperatures reaching 90 degrees plus high humidity levels, heat exhaustion can happen, possibly leading to a heat stroke.

Early warning signs of heat exhaustion include muscle cramps, excessive sweating, paleness, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea or vomiting and fainting.

“Heat exhaustion is lightheaded, dizziness nausea and vomiting," Shaw said. "Cramps are just a way of our body saying, ‘Hey, you need to take some more breaks and drink more fluids.’ Sport drinks are good, water is good and a combination of both. Cool the body off.”

If you do not cool your body down at that time, a heat stroke can happen. If you or someone you know may be experiencing heat exhaustion, you should act quickly to cool them down.

“If they are able to drink water, they need to get fluids," Shaw said. "Take their outer layer of clothing off so they can cool off, fan the body and put ice packs or some type of cold compacts under their arm pitts.”

Seek immediate help if the victim is experiencing severe symptoms, heart problems or high blood pressure.

According to the Mississippi State Department of Health, heat stroke warning signs include:

  • A body temperature above 103 degrees.
  • Red, hot and dry skin (no sweating).
  • Rapid, strong pulse.
  • Throbbing headache.
  • Dizziness.
  • Nausea.
  • Confusion.
  • Unconsciousness.

Like Shaw said, you should immediately call for help if you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms. While waiting for emergency responders, MSDH said you should do the following:

  • Get the victim out of the sun or heat.
  • Cool the victim rapidly using whatever methods you can. For example, immerse the victim in a tub of cool water; place the person in a cool shower; spray the victim with cool water from a garden hose; sponge the person with cool water; or if the humidity is low, wrap the victim in a cool, wet sheet and fan him or her vigorously.
  • Monitor body temperature, and continue cooling efforts until the body temperature drops to 101-102 degrees.
  • If emergency medical personnel are delayed, call the hospital emergency room for further instructions.
  • Do not give the victim fluids to drink.

It’s important if you are outside in the heat, to take frequent breaks in the shade and keep your body as cool as possible to avoid a heat emergency.

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