That means we must take some special precautions to safeguard our well being. Heat related deaths in the United States exceed 600 per year and is expected to rise. In the inspection world we must be aware of hot attics, crawl spaces, and direct exposure to sunlight among other dangers. Here are some things to remember this summer as we go about our assigned duties.
Drink more fluids (nonalcoholic, non-caffine) regardless of your activity level. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. Warning: If your doctor generally limits the amount of fluid you drink or has you on water pills, ask him how much you should drink while the weather is hot.
Don’t drink liquids that contain alcohol or large amounts of sugar–these actually cause you to lose more body fluid. Also, avoid very cold drinks, because they can cause stomach cramps.
Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat (also keeps you cooler) and sunglasses and by putting on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher (the most effective products say “broad spectrum” or “UVA/UVB protection” on their labels).
Here are some signs that you have not followed these guidelines.
- disorientation, agitation or confusion
- sluggishness or fatigue
- hot, dry skin that is flushed but not sweaty
- a high body temperature
- loss of consciousness
- rapid heart beat
It is important for the person to be treated immediately as heat stroke can cause permanent damage or death. There are some immediate first aid measures you can take while waiting for help to arrive.
- Get the person indoors.
- Remove clothing and gently apply cool water to the skin followed by fanning to stimulate sweating.
- Apply ice packs to the groin and armpits.
- Have the person lie down in a cool area with their feet slightly elevated
Intravenous fluids are often necessary to compensate for fluid or electrolyte loss. Bed rest is generally advised and body temperature may fluctuate abnormally for weeks after heat stroke.
So, keep these things in mind as we go through another hot summer in the west. As for you folks in the east, we will talk next winter.
We found much of this helpful information at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) online. You can learn more here.