Heat Illness

by Richmond Training Concepts

Heat Exhaustion is the most common heat illness. Your first priority in dealing with an individual suffering from a heat exhaustion is to remove the victim from the hot environment. If they are in the sun, move them into the shade. If they are in a hot room, move them into a cooler room. Lay the person down, loosen or remove any restrictive clothing.

Since the person is probably dehydrated, begin giving the victim cool water or a sports fluid. Try not to give them anything that is extremely cold. As their condition improves allow them more and more water. DO NOT give them anything that is caffeinated. You do not want to elevate the victim’s heart rate. Realize most sodas contain caffeine. Spray or sponge the victim with cool water and continue to monitor the victim’s condition.

Signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion are:
• Heavy sweating.
• Feeling dizzy or faint.
• Rapid or weak pulse.
• Nausea.
• Possible cramping.
• Headache.
• Fatigue.
• A dark color to their urine.

If the victim faints, becomes confused or has a seizure, call 911 immediately. If the victim’s body temperature rises above 104 F, the person is in Heat Stroke, a life threatening condition.

Continue to try and cool the victim while you wait for the Emergency Service Personnel to arrive. Place the victim into a bath of cool water (if available) or continue to pour water over the entire body. Areas on the body that are sensitive in helping cool a victim are, the top of the head, around the neck, armpits and below in the groin area. Use cool wraps or ice packs in these areas.