The hottest weather in more than four years as medical professionals warning Nebraskans about the dangers of heat related illness. Dr. Ron Kirschner is an emergency room physician at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and says there are things you can do to help someone who is overheated.
Signs of heat stress includes muscle cramps, rash, clammy skin and nausea. Dr. Kirschner says heat stroke is another issue. He says, “The way you would tell that is the person is not acting normally. It affects their ability to think and they may not be making sense so that is a potentially life threatening emergency. Then they have to go to a hospital quickly.”
Dr. Kirschner says there is also exertion heat stroke. That impacts people who are doing a strenuous activity and are not used to doing those things these climate conditions. They are typically out of shape and not used to running, mowing the lawn or doing construction work or other physical activity. He says that does happen time to time.
The next step is what to do if someone is overheated. Dr. Kirschner says, “One of the body’s mechanisms to cool is to sweat but when the humidity is high it is the sweat evaporating is what cools you. If the humidity is high the sweat doesn’t evaporate that quickly. Perhaps spraying them with a little water can cool them. That is one of the methods that is used in a hospital if somebody is more seriously ill they can use evaporative cooling.
Tips to avoid heat related illness include drinking plenty of fluids before you get thirsty and water is the best choice. Take advantage of air conditioning when possible. Wear light colored, loose fitting clothing. Outdoor activity should be limited to the cooler morning and late evening hours. Those 65 and older are more at risk as are children to heat related illness and should be checked on during the day.