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Summer Safety: A doctor's tips for heat, water and playground safety - First Aid Guide
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Summer Safety: A doctor's tips for heat, water and playground safety
First Aid Guide
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FIRST AID TREATMENT FOR HEAT PROBLEMS

Despite precautions, some people are still overcome by heat. Here are a few first-aid hints for some heat-related illnesses.

CONDITION
Heat Cramps
Heat Exhaustion
Heat Stroke (Sunstroke)
CAUSE Loss of salt and water in sweat lowers salt levels in muscle cells, leading to muscle irritability from electrolyte imbalance Several days of high-temperature exposure without adequate fluid intake. Fluid loss decreases blood flow to vital organs, causing shock. May occur more quickly after heavy exertion if humidity prevents evaporation of sweat. Body can’t cool itself because sweating mechanism is overwhelmed and fails. Death or permanent disability may occur without prompt emergency treatment.
SYMPTOMS
Muscle spasms in abdomen, arms or legs after heavy exertion Body temperature up to 104 degrees F; cool, clammy, pale or flushed skin; heavy sweating; fast, shallow breathing; fast, weak pulse; severe thirst; headache; dizziness or fainting; nausea or vomiting; tiredness Body temperature over 103 degrees F (may rise to 106 over 10 to 15 minutes); hot, dry, flushed skin; little or no sweating; trouble breathing; rapid, strong pulse; severe, throbbing headache; decreased alertness; unconsciousness; weakness; confusion; nausea
FIRST AID
Stop activity and rest in a cool place. Drink half a glass of cool water, clear juice or a sports drink every 15 minutes. Avoid alcohol or caffeine. Massage muscles. Do not resume activity for a few hours after cramps resolve. Aid: Rest in a cool place. Drink cool beverages like half a glass of cool water, clear juice or a sports drink every 15 minutes. Avoid alcohol or caffeine. Take a cool shower, bath or sponge bath. Seek air conditioning. Loosen or remove clothes. Call 911 or emergency services. Cool victim immediately with ice packs in the armpits or groin, a cool bath or shower, cool water sprayed from a hose, or a cool sponge bath. [In low humidity only: wrap victim in a cool, wet sheet and fan vigorously.] Continue cooling efforts until body temperature falls to 101-102 degrees.

WHEN TO SEEK MEDICAL HELP

If you’ve had heart problems, if you follow a low-salt diet, or if cramps don’t go away after an hour. If you have a history of heart or blood pressure problems, or if symptoms worsen or don’t go away after an hour. Heat exhaustion can progress to heat stroke. Immediate medical attention is needed for hot, dry skin, confusion, loss of consciousness, frequent vomiting, or trouble breathing. Call hospital emergency room for advice if emergency transport is delayed.
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