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More people die from complications associated with heat waves than hurricanes, tornadoes, or any other weather phenomenon in the US, according the EPA.
Heat exhaustion and stroke occur when people are active outside in extremely hot weather, when air conditioning stops due to interruptions in the power supply, or when people are stuck someplace hot and they can’t get to a cooler location.
Dr. Bones’ has some tips about how to avoid heat exhaustion and heat stroke, otherwise known as hyperthermia, and how to help somebody who succumbs. Hear the full broadcast the Destiny Survival Dispatch podcast.
Use Common Sense
In the old days, people let the weather dictate their activities. In an off-grid or grid-down situation where you will feel the full brunt of the weather, you should follow their lead.
The first obvious tip: Don’t plan your outside work during the hottest part of the day. Schedule it for early morning or dusk.
Wear clothes that are loose, light weight, and light colored.
If you must go out during a heat wave always take water with you.
It is just as important to fill up “your tank” before being active outdoors in the heat. Drink a pint to 24 oz. of water before heading out.
Stay hydrated by sipping water regularly instead of guzzling it all at once to catch up.
Your head collects heat and wearing a water soaked bandana will help.
If your air conditioning is off (or non-existent) cook outside in the shade if you can.
Eat Strategically for the Heat
Stay away from caffeine and alcohol because they tend to dehydrate you.
During hot weather, get plenty of potassium, calcium, and magnesium
Heat Exhaustion and Stroke
If you’re outside with others during a heat wave, keep an eye them.
Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion are:
Profuse sweating, flushed countenance, headache, nausea, and muscle cramps. A person with heat exhaustion may become agitated and irritable, but they will still be conscious. Their body core temperature may rise to 105 degrees.
Symptoms of Heat Stroke are:
The same as above, and moving quickly to shallow rapid breathing, very dry skin, delirium, seizures, loss of consciousness, and death. Heat stroke symptoms start at a body core temperature of 105.1. The body can no longer regulate body temperature by sweating at 106 degrees core temperature, so sweating stops completely.
How to Help a Person with Heat Exhaustion/Stroke
For both conditions: Get them into the shade, remove their clothes and spray them with cool water. If they are still conscious, have them take sips of water. Apply cold or ice compresses to the neck, armpits, and groin.
If a person with heat stroke faints and falls to the ground, treat them with caution as you would for any fall. Dr. Bones says you might save their life by moving them to a cooler spot, but mobilize the neck and spine in case of injury from the fall.
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