July 07, 2021
Heat. It’s unavoidable, especially in Tennessee. And it affects everybody: children, adults, babies and pets.
During extremely hot and humid weather, your body’s ability to cool itself is challenged. When the body heats too rapidly to cool itself properly, or when too much fluid or salt is lost through dehydration or sweating, the body temperature rises and that person may experience a heat-related illness.
Here are a few warning signs and symptoms of heat illness and recommended first aid steps, provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Heat cramps may be the first sign of heat-related illness and may lead to heat exhaustion or stroke.
Symptoms include painful muscle cramps and spasms, usually in the legs and abdomen, and heavy sweating.
Treatment includes applying firm pressure on cramping muscles or gentle massage to relieve the spasms. Give sips of water unless the person complains of nausea, then stop giving water. Seek medical attention if the cramps last longer than one hours.
Symptoms include heavy sweating, weakness or tiredness, cool, pale, clammy skin; fast, weak pulse, muscle cramps, dizziness, nausea or vomiting, headache or fainting.
Treatment includes moving the person to a cooler environment, preferably a well air-conditioned room. Loose clothing, apply cool, wet cloths or have the person sit in a cool bath. Offer sips of water. If the symptoms last longer than one hour or worsen, seek immediate medical attention.
Symptoms include a throbbing headache, confusion, nausea, dizziness, body temperature above 103-degree F, hot, red, dry or damp skin, rapid and strong pulse, fainting and loss of consciousness.
Call 911 or get the victim to a hospital immediately. Delay can be fatal. Move the victim to a cooler, preferably air-conditioned environment. Reduce body temperature with cool cloths or a bath. Use a fan if heat index temperatures are below the high 90s. Do not give fluids.
Using a fan to blow air in someone’s direction may actually make them hotter if heat index temperatures are above the 90s.
For more information, visit https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/warning.html.