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Heat Emergencies

August 03, 1998|SARAH YANG

Signs of heat exhaustion include cool, moist, pale or flushed skin; heavy sweating; headache; nausea or vomiting; dizziness; exhaustion. Body temperature will be near normal.

Signs of heat stroke include hot, red skin; changes in consciousness; rapid, weak pulse; rapid, shallow breathing. Body temperature can be as high as 105 degrees. If the person was sweating from heavy work or exercise, skin may be wet; otherwise, it will feel dry.

If signs of heat exhaustion appear:

* Get the person out of the heat. Remove or loosen tight clothing, and apply cool, wet clothes, towels or sheets.

* If the person is conscious, give cool water to drink. Make sure the person drinks slowly (about half a glass every 15 minutes). Do not give liquids that contain alcohol or caffeine.

* Let the victim rest in a comfortable position, and watch carefully for changes in his or her condition.

If signs of heat stroke appear:

* Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately. Heat stroke is a life-threatening situation. Help is needed fast.

* Move the person to a cooler place.

* Immerse the victim in a cool bath, or wrap wet sheets around the body and fan it.

* Watch for signs of breathing problems. Keep the person lying down and continue to cool the body any way you can.

* If the victim refuses water, is vomiting or shows changes in the level of consciousness, do not give anything to eat or drink.

To learn more about first aid techniques, please contact the American Red Cross at (800) 627-7000.

Source: American Red Cross

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