COLUMBIA — In response to the recent rise in temperatures, the Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services has issued tips to help residents avoid heat-related illnesses and heat stress.
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Web site, heat stress includes such ailments as heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps and heat rash. It commonly affects people working outside or in high-temperature environments.
Heat stroke can cause permanent physical damage and can be fatal if left untreated.
- Lack of sweating
- High body temperature (up to 106 degrees Farenheit)
- Call 911 (emergency services)
- Move victim into shade or air conditioning
- Cool the victim immediately
- Fan victim
- Apply cold water to victim’s skin
- Remove or dampen victim’s clothing
Heat exhaustion occurs when the body loses a large amount of water and salt, usually as a result of profuse sweating.
- Clammy skin
- Flushed or pale complexion
- Rise in body temperature
- Move to shade or air-conditioning
- Drink water or cool, non-alcoholic beverage
- Take a cool shower or bath
Heat Cramps are caused by low levels of salt in a person’s musclesand usually result from sweating.
- Muscle pains, twitches or spasms
- Move to shade or air conditioning
- Drink clear juice or sports beverage
- Rest for a few hours; further physical exertion may lead to heat stroke
- Victim may need medical attention if he or she has heart problems, a low-sodium diet or if cramps persist
Heat rash is a result of high levels of sweat irritating the skin.
- The irritated area will have red, raised bumps
- Commonly occurs on the neck and upper chest
- Move to cooler area, but may continue activities
- Keep irritated skin dry
- Use dusting powder to aid discomfort