Serious Consequences From Heat-Related Illnesses
Posted: July 13, 2012
Of all these heat-related problems, heat stroke is the most dangerous. Symptoms include body core temperature above 103 degrees F, hot and dry skin, dizziness and unconsciousness. This condition is often considered life-threatening, and a quick medical response is required. This is especially critical because the symptoms may affect farmers and employees who are working alone.
Time is of the essence in providing rapid cooling to stabilize a victim. Interventions include moving the victim to a shady area; immersing them in a vessel with cool water; spraying or sponging them with cool water; and getting medical assistance as soon as possible.
Heat exhaustion is also a serious condition that most likely takes a longer period of time for its onset of symptoms. It’s also most likely to affect the elderly who have high blood pressure. Heat exhaustion differs from heat stroke in that the skin will most likely become cool and moist verses hot and dry. An affected victim may have a rapid and faint pulse rate, with breathing rates being fast and shallow. The down side of heat exhaustion is that if left untreated, it can worsen and lead to a heat stroke. Proper treatment includes the consumption of cool, nonalcoholic liquids and taking a prolonged rest break. Cool showers are also recommended.
Heat cramps, which generally affect muscles in the abdomen and arms and legs, are generally associated with strenuous activity. Workers who sweat heavily during excessive physical activity are prone to these heat cramps.
The actual muscle pain is related to the lower salt levels in the human body due to excessive sweating.
Treatment for heat cramps includes resting for extended periods of time in a cool location, drinking clear liquids, and avoiding excessive physical activity for several hours. It’s important to get medical attention for cramps that persist for 1 hour or more.
Excessive sweating in hot, humid weather may result in what medical providers call heat rash. It’s more common among younger people and occurs as a cluster of tiny blisters in the groin area, in the creases of the elbows, and in the neck area. Drying the excess moisture in these body areas will most likely reduce heat rash symptoms. You can treat the irritation and itching in these rash areas with dry dusting powder.
The most important safety message to remember is to not allow one of the more minor symptoms to progress to a more serious problem. Treat the symptoms immediately, and get professional medical advice for symptoms that you suspect are precursors of life threatening conditions.
More information courtesy of thesafetydoctor.com.