Spot and Stop Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke

Posted on: May 16th, 2016 by Premier Prosthetics Blogger

Spot and Stop Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke

There’s summer heat – and then there’s summer heat. In these warmer months, braces, prosthetic devices, and liners trap heat and put wearers at elevated risk for heat exhaustion and its deadly counterpart, heatstroke. Be on guard for the following signs and take note of how to treat them:

Heat Exhaustion:

Causes: Strenuous physical activity can cause the body to overheat past healthy levels. Exposure to high temperatures, especially when partnered with high humidity, can also send body heat skyrocketing. Dehydration, alcohol consumption, and overdressing in clothes that don’t allow the body to sweat and self-regulate temperature may trigger an episode, too.

Signs: Cool, moist skin that develops goose bumps when exposed to heat; abnormally high sweating; blurred or spotted vision, dizziness, or fainting; weak but rapid pulse; low pressure that creates vertigo upon standing; muscle cramps; nausea.

Treatment: If you believe you’re experiencing heat exhaustion, stop all activity immediately. Move to a cooler place out of direct sunlight, like under a shaded tree or in a picnic shelter. Drink cool water slowly, and replenish lost electrolytes with sports drink.

When to seek help: Symptoms that last more than one hour necessitate medical assistance. If body temperature reaches 104 F or higher, seek care immediately.

Heatstroke:

Causes: Much like heat exhaustion, heatstroke is brought about through exposure to exceptionally hot environments that cause body heat to rise with no reprieve. Prolonged exposure (2-3 days), especially in humid climates, increase risk, particularly for the elderly or those with chronic illness.

Signs: A body temperature at or above 104 F is the #1 sign of heatstroke. Altered behavior – slurred speech, confusion, irritability, and even seizures – are the second biggest indicator. Hot skin that’s dry to the tough, nausea and vomiting, rapid and shallow breathing, and a racing heart are also key signs of heatstroke.

When to seek help: If you believe someone’s experiencing heatstroke, call emergency services immediately.

Treatment: While you wait for medical professionals, take immediate action by moving the person under shade or into a cooler building. Remove excess clothing to reduce heat and allow body to sweat and start self-regulating temperature. Cool them down however you possibly can – place them in a cool shower, mist cool water with a fan, spray with a hose, or place ice packs or cold wet towels on the body’s hot spots like the head, neck, armpits, and groin.

If you plan to spend long hours outdoors this summer, make an appointment with Premier Prosthetics today to discuss procedures for extended wear and care of your prostheses.

 

Comments are closed.