Tips And Treats
Heat Stroke Tips
Heat Stroke is a severe condition caused by impairment of the body's temperature-regulating abilities, resulting from prolonged exposure to excessive heat and characterized by cessation of sweating, severe headache, high fever, hot dry skin, and in serious cases collapse and coma.
With temperatures rising in the East and Midwest, the number of deaths attributed to excessive heat exposure is pretty high. But most tragedies can be avoided by taking a few precautions.
Humans need about two weeks to acclimatize to a dramatic change in temperature. When the body is unable to cope with excessive heat, the result is heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
Last Updated - 27th November 2005
Cause of Heat Stroke
Heat stroke occurs when the body becomes unable to control its temperature: the body's temperature rises rapidly, the sweating mechanism fails, and the body is unable to cool down. Body temperature may rise to 106°F or higher within 10-15 minutes. Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not given.
Recognizing Heat Stroke
Warning signs of heat stroke vary but may include:
- an extremely high body temperature (above 103°F, orally)
- red, hot, and dry skin (no sweating)
- rapid, strong pulse
- throbbing headache
What to Do ?
If you see any of these signs, you may be dealing with a life threatening emergency. Have someone call for immediate medical assistance while you begin cooling the victim:
- Get the victim to a shady area.
- Cool the victim rapidly using whatever methods you can. For example, immerse the victim in a tub of cool water; place in a cool shower; spray with cool water from a garden hose; sponge with cool water; or if the humidity is low, wrap the victim in a cool, wet sheet and fan him or her vigorously.
- Monitor body temperature, and continue cooling efforts until the body temperature drops to 101-102°F.
- If emergency medical personnel are delayed, call the hospital emergency room for further instructions.
- Do not give the victim alcohol to drink.
- Get medical assistance as soon as possible.
- Sometimes a victim's muscles will begin to twitch uncontrollably as a result of heat stroke. If this happens, keep the victim from injuring himself, but do not place any object in the mouth and do not give fluids. If there is vomiting, make sure the airway remains open by turning the victim on his or her side.
The most important measures to prevent heat strokes are to avoid becoming dehydrated, and to avoid vigorous physical activities in hot and humid weather. If you have to perform physical activities in hot weather, drink plenty of fluids (such as water and Gatorade), but avoid alcohol, coffee, and tea which may lead to dehydration. Take frequent breaks to hydrate yourself. Wear hats, and light colored, and light and loose clothes.
Tips to beat the heat .
- Run cold water over your inside wrists.
- Evaporative cooling in its simplest form - wet your t-shirt, wring it out, wear it. Simple and effective.
- Set a bowl of ice or cold water in front of a moving fan.
- Add a 2-5 drops of essential oil of peppermint to a footbath of cool water or to a spritzer bottle filled with witchhazel & pure distilled/mineral water. A little peppermint oil goes a long way, but avoid the eyes.
- Dampen your clothing.
- Use a wet washcloth on your forehead. Move it often to help release heat.
- Keep doors to bedrooms, baths, laundry, etc., shut during the day and cool the actual living space in use. If bedroom blinds are closed during the day and the door is kept shut, it's easy to cool it in the evening by opening the door an hour before you plan to retire.
- Hang roll-up blinds over the OUTSIDE of east and south windows. You still get light and most of the view but shade the glass.
- Put your feet in a basin of cool (not cold) water.
- Lie on the floor, preferably hard surfaced.
- Keep a supply of damp washcloths in plastic bags in the freezer for cooling off. Put 5 or 6 of them in separate bags and use them to cool down. Wash them with your regular towel load and stick them back in the freezer rather than drying them on the line.
- Be lazy. When the temperature soars, sit.
- Wear loose, light - colored, cotton clothing.
- Drink water, and plenty of it. It's cheap preventative medicine.
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol and stress.
- Eat light, as in fruits and raw vegetables. Go easy on protein; it increases your body's heat production.
- Sprinkled cotton sheets with water before she went to bed on hot nights.
- Body heat is lost through the head, so do away with long hair, hair spray and 'updos' for the summer. Keep your hair short and freely moving to allow heat to escape.
- There is no better personal air conditioning at any price than: a wetted white cotton dishtowel or diaper tied from forehead to nape of neck, and long enough to drape covering the head to or past the shoulders. If you wear a brimmed hat to shade nose and cheeks, just place that on top. Any slightest air movement's a delight with this renewable, recyclable evaporative cooler. Just re-wet from your water bottle when you stop to rehydrate your innards.
- Make a simple icepack, (small plastic bag and a handful of ice works just fine) and wear it on top of your head. You may wish to put a cloth underneath the pack. If you are moving around, a hat will hold the pack in place, and keep the sun off your head as well. Most body heat is lost through the head so this really helps cool your entire body! This works beautifully at home, in the car, and even in direct sun.
- Keep a spray bottle filled with water and "spritz" your head and neck as needed.
- Close all the windows in your house except the one in the room you're in, then place a fan in a window away from the open window and direct it to blow outside. This pulls the air in from outside and creates a nice breeze for you.
- If the heat becomes unbearable, go to the movies or the mall. Practically every public space has air conditioning which you can access for little or no cost.
- Keep the windows closed and the curtains drawn. Use the microwave oven instead of the conventional oven as much as possible (conventional oven lets off a lot of heat along with microwave saving a lot on energy cost). Turn air conditioner on one day, off the next and use fans, on the next, and again off with fans.
- Keeping room-darkening blinds pulled which reflect more sun and heat, turn off the air conditioner, but turn the fan on rather than on automatic. That will pull up cool air from basement or will circulate the air from cool-air returns which usually are at floor level where air is cooler.
- Compact fluorescent, although not giving off as nice a light, use much less electricity and put off much less heat than incandescent.
- Unplug your tv and vcr at night and when they're not in use. Also, shutdown your computer. Those screens, both the tv and computer generate a lot of heat, and waste a lot of electricity preparing to come on when the button is pushed.
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