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Summer Safety Tips – The heat is on!

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Summer is here! It’s time to spend lazy days at the beach or flying off to sunny locales for family vacations, and swimming, swimming, and more swimming! Don’t forget to slather on a protective SPF every day even if you’re not at the beach or swimming pool.

What kid doesn’t want to be at the beach or pool on a hot summer day? As you might imagine, there are many dangers involved in water sports and activities. Swimming in the ocean can pose many hazards and children and adults alike should be taught respect for the water and be well-trained in swimming. Even at home, drowning dangers lurk. A small child can drown in just a few inches of water found at the bottom of a bucket left lying around.

Hot days and vigorous activities could lead to heat illness. Most cases can be cured easily but some can become life threatening. Know what to do. Read on and see how you can be better prepared to avoid summer-related mishaps. With some general knowledge and maybe a little specialized training (CPR, first aid, etc.), you can relax and enjoy all the fun summer has to offer!

Heat Illness

When playing in the hot summer sun at the beach, it will be important to keep hydrated. Too much activity and not drinking plenty of fluids could lead to heat exhaustion. 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, like under an umbrella. 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 to keep drinking in plenty of fluids. 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 cool water like in the ocean or continue to pour buckets of cool water over their 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.

Symptoms of heatstroke (the most serious type of heat stress) include:
  • Hot, dry skin or very heavy sweating
  • Hallucinations
  • Chills
  • Throbbing headache
  • High body temperature
  • Confusion/dizziness
  • Slurred speech
  • Proper first aid for heat stroke includes:
  • Call 911.
  • Move the person to a cool shaded area.
  • Cool the person using methods such as soaking clothes with water; spraying, sponging, or showering with water; or fanning the body.
WATER, Wet your Whistle!

Water is your body’s principal chemical component and makes up about 60 percent of your body weight. Every system in your body depends on water. For example, water flushes toxins out of vital organs, carries nutrients to your cells and provides a moist environment for ear, nose and throat tissues.

Lack of water can lead to dehydration, a condition that occurs when you don’t have enough water in your body to carry out normal functions. Even mild dehydration can drain your energy and make you tired.

So how much fluid does the average, healthy adult living in a temperate climate need? The Institute of Medicine determined that an adequate intake (AI) for men is roughly 3 liters (about 13 cups) of total beverages a day. The AI for women is 2.2 liters (about 9 cups) of total beverages a day.

The best defense against heat illnesses is to stay well hydrated. Make sure the kids drink plenty of liquid, often times, they are way too busy playing to be bothered to stop and rehydrate!

Watch out for the weekend warrior in you too, maybe you haven’t been as active during the winter months as you would’ve liked. But you’ll make up for it now that the weather is warm and you can get outside and be more active. So it’s jogging, then tennis, then biking, and then boom! If you’re loved one suddenly collapsed, would you know what to do? Are you trained in CPR? Even if you’re not trained, there’s a lot you can do. And what you do can have a huge impact on the survival of your family or friend.

[AUTHOR: Justin Haagen] Justin is the owner of Safety Matters Certified Training and teaches CPR/AED/First Aid as well as Basic Life Support for the Healthcare Provider, and ACLS along with a variety of safety classes.

June 28, 2015

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