With summer now here and the temperature sweltering, heat stroke and heat exhaustion are real concerns for those who do not have a cool area that they can go to.
Obviously, if it is way to hot to be outside the right idea would be to stay inside but people have to work and some of that work involves them being outside but if you are able, the best solution is to stay inside of an air conditioned car or house as much as possible. If there is no air conditioning available a fan will suffice until it cools down.
“I start early in the morning to get my work done before 11 or 12 o' clock,” said Melvin Hensley, owner of Roubidoux Landscape. “If your going to be working outside, pack in water, take breaks, sit in the shade or if you can catch a little air conditioning then do so.”
Infants, the elderly, athletes, and outdoor workers are the groups at greatest risk for heat stroke. Heat stroke can kill or cause damage to the brain and other internal organs and often occurs as a progression from milder-heat-related illnesses such as heat cramps, heat syncope (fainting) and heat exhaustion, but it can strike if even if you have no previous signs of heat injury.
“Heat stroke or heat exhaustion or any heat related injury can occur anytime that your core temperature gets elevated,” said Mikel Hartness, Assistant Chief of Pulaski County Ambulance District and Pulaski County Coroner. “This time of year you are more concerned with the environmental temperatures, if you are doing anything stressful outside, any type of work outside, cutting the grass, washing the car, whatever you may, and if you are not hydrating then your core temperature is going to elevate and you run into the risk of any heat related type injury.”
The symptoms for heat stroke are: throbbing headache, dizziness and lightheadedness, lack of sweating despite the heat, red, hot and dry skin, muscle weakness and cramps, nausea and vomiting, a weak or a strong rapid heartbeat, rapid, shallow breathing, behavioral changes, such as confusion, disorientation or staggering, seizures and unconsciousness.
“If you see these symptoms, you want to get them out of the heat into the shade or air conditioning,” said Hartness. “Get a fan on them, get them hydrated, start giving them plenty of fluids.”
Some things that can be done if the person needs immediate help from the heat is to move the person to an air conditioned place or a shady place out of the sun, remove any unnecessary clothing, fan air over the person while wetting his or her skin with water from a sponge or garden hose, apply ice packs to the person's armpits, groin, neck and back, because these areas are rich with blood vessels close to the skin this may help to reduce body temperature. If it is possible, try and get an accurate body temperature reading of the person.
Page 2 of 4 - “Once they cool off and their core temperature returns to normal it is fine to go back to normal activities but I would stay out of the heat for the day,” said Hartness.
Contrary to popular belief it is not a good idea to put someone in a tub full of ice to bring down their temperature.
“You don't want them to go from being very hot to very cold very fast because you can cause some problems,” said Hartness.
Infants and children up to age 4 and adults over the age of 65 are vulnerable because their bodies react more slowly than other people to the change in the heat.
“The people that come in here are 60 years of age or older and they usually come in here about 10:30 a.m.,” said Lela Randolph Dyl, Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Waynesville/St. Robert Senior Citizens, Inc. “As soon as they eat lunch they normally leave but as warm as it is I notice that they are staying longer. We are getting a bigger crowd now because of the heat and even though we offer a meal delivery program they are still coming in here. I just worry about those that don't have any type of air and how they are getting through these hot days.”
People with health conditions, including the heart, lung and kidney disease, obesity and underweight, high blood pressure, diabetes, mental illness, sickle cell trait, alcoholism, sunburn or any condition that causes a fever are also at risk.
Certain medications such as antihistamines, diet pills, diuretics, sedatives, tranquilizers, stimulants, seizure medications, heart and blood pressure medications, beta blockers, vasoconstrictors, antidepressants, antipsychotics, and illegal drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamine s are also associated with an increased risk of heat stroke.
The easiest way to prevent heat stroke is to just stay inside where it is cool but if that is not a possibility then wear lightweight, light colored, loose fitting clothing and a wide brimmed hat, use sunscreen with a SPF factor of at least 30, drink extra fluids, water is the best fluid to drink but sports drinks are ok if drank in moderation, dont drink alcohol or carbonated beverages.
“This time of year if you are doing any type of strenuous exercise it is highly recommend that you don't do it during the hottest time of the day,” said Hartness. “The best time would be before the sun is fully up, first thing in the morning, 5 or 5:30 in the morning before the suns all the way up. Even in the evening hours people think ok the sun is going down, your not get the radiant heat but just because it has been so hot it's still going to be excessively hot.”
People are not the only ones effected by the heat, pets can also b at risk if they are outside during the hot day.
Page 3 of 4 - “Most people associate summer with good times and good weather, but for pets, summertime can present dangers that are no laughing matter,” says Dr. Katherine Miller, director of applied science and research for the ASPCA. “Summer activities like barbecues, traveling and hiking carry risks, but there are simple ways to protect your pet and have a fun summer.”
Visit the vet. Make sure your pet is up to date on all necessary vaccinations. Pets should also be given a blood test for heart worms every year in the early spring. The deadly parasite is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito, and it is recommended that dogs and cats be on monthly preventive medication year-round.
Keep cool. Dogs and cats can become dehydrated quickly, so give them plenty of water when it is hot outdoors. Also make sure your pet has a shady place to escape the sun, and when the temperature is very high, don’t let your dog linger on hot asphalt. Being so close the ground, your dog’s body can heat up quickly, and sensitive paw pads can burn.
Pest-free pets. Commonly used flea and tick products, rodenticides (mouse and rat baits), insecticides and some lawn products can be harmful to cats and dogs if ingested, so keep them out of reach. Some flea products that can be used safely on dogs can be deadly to cats, because of the presence of the chemical permethrin. Be sure to read directions on all flea and tick products carefully and follow the label instructions exactly.
Party smart. Summertime can be perfect for backyard barbecues or parties, but remember that the food and drink you serve your guests may be poisonous to pets. Keep alcoholic beverages away from pets, and remember that the snacks you serve your friends should not be treats for your pet.
Splash safely. Do not leave dogs unsupervised around a pool, as not all dogs are good swimmers. Rinse your dog after swimming to remove chlorine or salt from fur, and try to keep your dog from drinking pool water, which contains chlorine and other chemicals that could cause stomach upset.
Good Samaritan Resource Center is currently trying to get as many fans and window air conditioners as possible to help those that do not have any air conditioning. There is a shortage of available fans and Good Samaritan Resource center is looking to fill those needs. You can drop off any fans that you have that still work at the food pantry. They will also accept donations to buy fans for those that need them or window air conditioners.
If you don't have a fan or air conditioning and it gets to hot the St. Robert Municipal Center is open as a cooling center from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m and although not listed as a cooling center the Waynesville/St. Robert Senior Center is also available from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. for anybody of any age.
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