What is a Heat Hazard?
Doing too much on a hot day, spending too much time in the sun or staying too long in an overheated place can cause heat-related illnesses. Know the symptoms of heat disorders and overexposure to the sun, and be ready to give first aid treatment.
- Contact your local emergency management office or American Red Cross chapter for information on extreme heat.
- Install window air conditioners snugly.
- Insulate spaces around air conditioners for a tighter fit.
- Close any floor heat registers nearby.
- Use a circulating or box fan to spread the cool air.
- Keep heat outside and cool air inside.
- Install temporary reflectors, such as aluminum foil covered cardboard, to reflect any heat back outside.
- Keep the cool air inside by weather-stripping doors and windowsills.
- Consider keeping storm windows up all year. Storm windows can keep the heat of a house in the summer the same way they keep the cold out in the winter.
- Check air-conditioning ducts for proper insulation.
Symptoms: Skin redness and pain, possible swelling, blisters, fever, headaches.
First Aid: Take a shower, using soap, to remove oils that may block pores preventing the body from cooling naturally. If blisters occur, apply dry, sterile dressings and get medical attention.
Symptoms: Painful spasms usually in leg and abdominal muscles. Heavy sweating.
First Aid: Firm pressure on cramping muscles or gentle massage to relieve spasm. Give sips of water. If nausea occurs, discontinue.
Symptoms: Heavy sweating, weakness, skin cold, pale and clammy. Weak pulse. Normal temperature possible. Fainting, vomiting.
First Aid: Get victim to lie down in a cool place. Loosen clothing. Apply cool, wet cloths. Fan or move victim to air-conditioned place. Give sips of water. If nausea occurs, discontinue. If vomiting occurs, seek immediate medical attention.
Heat Stroke (Sun Stroke)
Symptoms: High body temperature (106+). Hot, dry skin. Rapid, strong pulse. Possible unconsciousness. Victim will likely not sweat.
First Aid: Heat stroke is a severe medical emergency. Call 9-1-1 or emergency medical services or get the victim to a hospital immediately. Delay can be fatal. Move victim to a cooler environment. Try a cool bath or sponging to reduce body temperature. Use extreme caution. Remove clothing. Use fans and/or air conditioners. DO NOT GIVE FLUIDS.
These self-help measures are not a substitute for medical care but may help you recognize and respond promptly to warning signs of trouble. Your best defense against heat-related illness is prevention. Staying cool and making simple changes in your fluid intake, activities, and clothing during hot weather can help you remain safe and healthy.