When the weather’s too hot to handle

Community Jun 02, 2015 by Laura Lennie Ancaster News

Hot humid weather is here, and along with it comes the risk of heat-related illnesses.

St. John Ambulance provincial standards coordinator George Yaworski says while most people remember to protect themselves from sunburn, they often forget to safeguard themselves from the heat.

“Anyone who has had a bad sunburn knows they are painful and bad for your skin,” he said. “When you’re getting burned, you start to turn red. When you’re heading towards a heat illness, you tend to sweat but sweating is natural, so many people tend to ignore those early warning signs.”

Overexertion in or prolonged exposure to hot humid weather can lead to heat-related illnesses like heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heatstroke, which range in severity from mild to life-threatening.

Heat cramps are painful muscle cramps that arise because of excessive sweating. They typically happen in the legs and abdomen, and usually can be reversed by consuming water or sports drinks and cooling off.

Heat exhaustion is a more serious condition and occurs when an individual loses fluid due to extreme sweating. Signs include excessive sweating, blurred vision, dilated pupils, dizziness, cramps or headaches and symptoms of shock, such as cold, clammy skin; a weak, rapid pulse; rapid, shallow breathing; vomiting; and unconsciousness.

Yaworski said of the heat-related illnesses, heat exhaustion is the most common.

“This happens to people out at the park, maybe out working in the garden or outside working in construction,” he said, adding treatment includes giving the person fluids and getting them somewhere cooler right away. “If they vomit, stop giving them liquids and get medical help. Put the person at rest on their back in a cool place, keep them comfortable and monitor their airway until EMS arrives.”

Heatstroke is a life-threatening condition and happens when an individual’s body temperature rises far above normal –

40 C or higher. Signs include being hot to the touch, a rapid and full pulse that gets weaker as the heatstroke progresses, noisy breathing, flushed and hot skin, restlessness, headaches, fatigue, dizziness and nausea. Vomiting, convulsions and unconsciousness also may occur.

Yaworski said the condition is often seen in adults, children and the elderly who have been outside at events or working in the yard.

“If you suspect a person is suffering from heatstroke, call 911 immediately and if possible submerge them in cool water,” he said. “When a person has hit the point of heatstroke, they are not fully aware of their condition. Others will notice before the actual person having the heatstroke will.”

Yaworski said dialing 911 right away is best, even though there is time to cool a person off and get them fluids before they become unresponsive.

“It is better to call EMS, have them arrive and make a full assessment than to not call them at this point,” he said. “If the person does become unresponsive, do not leave them alone. Place the person in the recovery position and monitor their breathing until EMS arrives.”

Yaworski said while young children and the elderly are particularly vulnerable to heat-related illnesses, it’s important for everyone to remember to protect themselves from the heat.

It’s OK to enjoy the hot weather, just use “good sense,” he said.

“On days when there is an extreme heat warning in place or high humidity, limit your outdoor time,” Yaworski said. “If you have to be outside, don’t overdo it – drink lots of water, take breaks in the shade and stay off surfaces, like concrete, that bounce heat back up. If the heat is making you uncomfortable, it’s a good sign to go somewhere and cool down.”

For more tips on avoiding heat-related illnesses, visit sja.ca.

When the weather’s too hot to handle

Stay hydrated, cool to avoid heat-related illnesses

Community Jun 02, 2015 by Laura Lennie Ancaster News

Hot humid weather is here, and along with it comes the risk of heat-related illnesses.

St. John Ambulance provincial standards coordinator George Yaworski says while most people remember to protect themselves from sunburn, they often forget to safeguard themselves from the heat.

“Anyone who has had a bad sunburn knows they are painful and bad for your skin,” he said. “When you’re getting burned, you start to turn red. When you’re heading towards a heat illness, you tend to sweat but sweating is natural, so many people tend to ignore those early warning signs.”

Overexertion in or prolonged exposure to hot humid weather can lead to heat-related illnesses like heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heatstroke, which range in severity from mild to life-threatening.

Heat cramps are painful muscle cramps that arise because of excessive sweating. They typically happen in the legs and abdomen, and usually can be reversed by consuming water or sports drinks and cooling off.

Heat exhaustion is a more serious condition and occurs when an individual loses fluid due to extreme sweating. Signs include excessive sweating, blurred vision, dilated pupils, dizziness, cramps or headaches and symptoms of shock, such as cold, clammy skin; a weak, rapid pulse; rapid, shallow breathing; vomiting; and unconsciousness.

Yaworski said of the heat-related illnesses, heat exhaustion is the most common.

“This happens to people out at the park, maybe out working in the garden or outside working in construction,” he said, adding treatment includes giving the person fluids and getting them somewhere cooler right away. “If they vomit, stop giving them liquids and get medical help. Put the person at rest on their back in a cool place, keep them comfortable and monitor their airway until EMS arrives.”

Heatstroke is a life-threatening condition and happens when an individual’s body temperature rises far above normal –

40 C or higher. Signs include being hot to the touch, a rapid and full pulse that gets weaker as the heatstroke progresses, noisy breathing, flushed and hot skin, restlessness, headaches, fatigue, dizziness and nausea. Vomiting, convulsions and unconsciousness also may occur.

Yaworski said the condition is often seen in adults, children and the elderly who have been outside at events or working in the yard.

“If you suspect a person is suffering from heatstroke, call 911 immediately and if possible submerge them in cool water,” he said. “When a person has hit the point of heatstroke, they are not fully aware of their condition. Others will notice before the actual person having the heatstroke will.”

Yaworski said dialing 911 right away is best, even though there is time to cool a person off and get them fluids before they become unresponsive.

“It is better to call EMS, have them arrive and make a full assessment than to not call them at this point,” he said. “If the person does become unresponsive, do not leave them alone. Place the person in the recovery position and monitor their breathing until EMS arrives.”

Yaworski said while young children and the elderly are particularly vulnerable to heat-related illnesses, it’s important for everyone to remember to protect themselves from the heat.

It’s OK to enjoy the hot weather, just use “good sense,” he said.

“On days when there is an extreme heat warning in place or high humidity, limit your outdoor time,” Yaworski said. “If you have to be outside, don’t overdo it – drink lots of water, take breaks in the shade and stay off surfaces, like concrete, that bounce heat back up. If the heat is making you uncomfortable, it’s a good sign to go somewhere and cool down.”

For more tips on avoiding heat-related illnesses, visit sja.ca.

When the weather’s too hot to handle

Stay hydrated, cool to avoid heat-related illnesses

Community Jun 02, 2015 by Laura Lennie Ancaster News

Hot humid weather is here, and along with it comes the risk of heat-related illnesses.

St. John Ambulance provincial standards coordinator George Yaworski says while most people remember to protect themselves from sunburn, they often forget to safeguard themselves from the heat.

“Anyone who has had a bad sunburn knows they are painful and bad for your skin,” he said. “When you’re getting burned, you start to turn red. When you’re heading towards a heat illness, you tend to sweat but sweating is natural, so many people tend to ignore those early warning signs.”

Overexertion in or prolonged exposure to hot humid weather can lead to heat-related illnesses like heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heatstroke, which range in severity from mild to life-threatening.

Heat cramps are painful muscle cramps that arise because of excessive sweating. They typically happen in the legs and abdomen, and usually can be reversed by consuming water or sports drinks and cooling off.

Heat exhaustion is a more serious condition and occurs when an individual loses fluid due to extreme sweating. Signs include excessive sweating, blurred vision, dilated pupils, dizziness, cramps or headaches and symptoms of shock, such as cold, clammy skin; a weak, rapid pulse; rapid, shallow breathing; vomiting; and unconsciousness.

Yaworski said of the heat-related illnesses, heat exhaustion is the most common.

“This happens to people out at the park, maybe out working in the garden or outside working in construction,” he said, adding treatment includes giving the person fluids and getting them somewhere cooler right away. “If they vomit, stop giving them liquids and get medical help. Put the person at rest on their back in a cool place, keep them comfortable and monitor their airway until EMS arrives.”

Heatstroke is a life-threatening condition and happens when an individual’s body temperature rises far above normal –

40 C or higher. Signs include being hot to the touch, a rapid and full pulse that gets weaker as the heatstroke progresses, noisy breathing, flushed and hot skin, restlessness, headaches, fatigue, dizziness and nausea. Vomiting, convulsions and unconsciousness also may occur.

Yaworski said the condition is often seen in adults, children and the elderly who have been outside at events or working in the yard.

“If you suspect a person is suffering from heatstroke, call 911 immediately and if possible submerge them in cool water,” he said. “When a person has hit the point of heatstroke, they are not fully aware of their condition. Others will notice before the actual person having the heatstroke will.”

Yaworski said dialing 911 right away is best, even though there is time to cool a person off and get them fluids before they become unresponsive.

“It is better to call EMS, have them arrive and make a full assessment than to not call them at this point,” he said. “If the person does become unresponsive, do not leave them alone. Place the person in the recovery position and monitor their breathing until EMS arrives.”

Yaworski said while young children and the elderly are particularly vulnerable to heat-related illnesses, it’s important for everyone to remember to protect themselves from the heat.

It’s OK to enjoy the hot weather, just use “good sense,” he said.

“On days when there is an extreme heat warning in place or high humidity, limit your outdoor time,” Yaworski said. “If you have to be outside, don’t overdo it – drink lots of water, take breaks in the shade and stay off surfaces, like concrete, that bounce heat back up. If the heat is making you uncomfortable, it’s a good sign to go somewhere and cool down.”

For more tips on avoiding heat-related illnesses, visit sja.ca.