Next up in our Summer Safety Series is Heat Stroke. Heat Stroke, sometimes referred to as sun stroke, is much more dangerous than heat exhaustion and it is important to be able to distinguish between the two. Heat stroke can be life-threatening and is a condition in which a person's body is no longer able to regulate it's own core temperature (they stop sweating).
Although heat exhaustion should still be treated as serious, there are some additional precautions that should be taken if you suspect a person to be experiencing heat stroke. Get to know the SIGNS & SYMPTOMS:
- Red, hot, DRY skin (may still be moist)
- Changes in their level of consciousness
- Changes in their behaviour. May become irritable or bizarre.
- Breathing may become rapid and shallow
If you suspect a person to be experiencing heat stroke, be sure to immediately start providing CARE:
- Call 911 immediately.
- Relocate the person to a cooler environment (shade, air conditioned house or car, etc).
- Apply cool sources of water to the person's torso.
- Fan the moisture away from the person's skin.
- Provide cool water for the person to sip on.
- If needed, rapidly cool the person with cold packs wrapped with cloth in their armpits, neck, groin, wrists and ankles.
As always, prevention is the best form of first aid. If you can, avoid exposure to the sun on hot days between the hours of 11:00am and 4:00pm. For more prevention on heat related emergencies, see our previous post. We will cover heat cramps and dehydration in the next installment of our Summer Safety Series. Stay up to date with current first aid standards and be notified when we have updated our blog by following us on Facebook, Google+ and Linkedin.