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Well we have only had a short burst of hot weather so far this year, but it was enough to remind us of some of the dangers of working through the summer months. Forest fire awareness and preparedness always need to be forefront in our daily routines this time of year, as is the ever present danger of heat stroke when working outside.
What is Heat Stroke?
Heat stroke is a form of hyperthermia, an abnormally elevated body temperature with accompanying physical and neurological symptoms. It is a true medical emergency that can be fatal if not properly and promptly treated. In extreme heat, high humidity, dehydration, or vigorous exertion under the sun, the body may not be able to dissipate the heat and the body temperature rises up to and beyond 106 C.
Symptoms of Heat Stroke
Initial symptoms of heat exhaustion include; nausea, vomiting, fatigue, weakness, headache, muscle cramps and aches, and dizziness. These are generally the precursors to heat stroke and should be addressed before the body continues to deteriorate. Following are the most common signs of heat stroke:
Call first aid and/or 911 immediately.
Get the victim to a shady area, remove clothing, apply cool or tepid water to the skin. Fan to promote sweating and evaporation, and place ice packs under the armpits.
Hydrate with water.
The number one preventative measure that a person can do to prevent heat stroke is to avoid dehydration. DRINK PLENTY OF WATER or sports drinks all day long to replenish electrolytes if you are working vigorously outdoors in the sun. Avoid alcohol, caffeine and tea which will lead to heat stroke. Wearing a hat and breathable clothing are also important to minimize heat stroke symptoms.