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Last Updated: May 29th, 2012 - 03:07:02 


How to Spot and Treat Heat Exhaustion
By Dr. Stuart Fischer
Apr 27, 2008, 10:44

Swimming, outdoor barbeques, trips to the beach. Summer time is definitely here and you're ready to get out there and enjoy those sun rays! We all think of what we'll be doing this summer with pleasure, but most of us tend to forget what happens when things go wrong. Whether you're planning a beach front getaway this summer or sticking around in the city, summer is a high-risk season for injuries, cuts, bites and other emergencies that crop up around this time of year. More serious emergencies like heat exhaustion can be easily prevented, if you know what to do before the rescue squad arrives.

Here's some advice on what to do if somebody you know is suffering from heat exhaustion from Dr. Stuart Fischer, author of The Little Book of Big Emergencies.
  1. READ THE SIGNS: altered mental state, flushed skin, dry and hot skin, leg muscle cramps and severe headaches are all signs of heat exhaustion, a.k.a. hyperthermia.

  2. NO MORE SUN: Move patient out of the sun immediately! If possible find a cool and shady place to rest the patient.

  3. CALL 911: If the patient's skin is warmer than the outside temperature or if he is delirious, disoriented or unresponsive, start dialing as soon as possible.

  4. REMOVE CONSTRICTING CLOTHING: Sponge cold water liberally on the skin and fan the patient.

  5. MASSAGE: Gently massage the limbs to promote circulation and prevent tissue damage in the fingers and toes.

  6. HYDRATE: Give water to patients with leg cramps, but insist that they drink SLOWLY. When emergency personnel arrive, they will administer intravenous hydration.

Time is of the essence in an emergency. Remaining calm and focused in an emergency will not only prevent unnecessary stress but can help save someone's life.

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