Lesson 13: Heat Related Illnesses Emergency Reference Guide p. 59-64 Objectives • Define heat exhaustion, heat stroke & hyponatremia • Describe prevention techniques • List signs/symptoms for heat related illnesses • Describe emergency treatment • Describe situations that require emergency evacuation Heat Related Illnesses Overview • Range of problems associated with very warm to hot air temperatures • Other factors involved: – – – – – – – Humidity Being overweight/out of shape Very young or very old Unaccustomed to heat Certain drugs such as antihistamines Continued exercise Dehydration Heat Related Illnesses Overview (cont’d.) • Heat exhaustion: result of combination of factors. – Heat stress – Water/electrolyte loss – Inadequate hydration • Heat stroke: when core produces heat faster than it can be dissipated. – Over-exerting or dehydrated • Hyponatremia: low blood sodium level. Caused by drinking too much water or failing to eat Preventing Heat Related Illnesses • What can you do to prevent heat related illnesses? – Stay well hydrated, consume water prior to exercising & during exercise – Wear baggy, loosely woven clothing to allow evaporation – Keep head covered & face shaded – Keep fit, start slowly – Avoid exercise during hottest part of day – Drugs may increase risk – Rest in shade often Signs/Symptoms for Heat Exhaustion – – – – – – – – – – Sweating Tiredness & feeling lethargic Skin appears pale & sweaty or flushed Headache Nausea, sometimes vomiting Muscle cramps Thirst/decrease urine output Dizziness Elevated heart rate Possible slight increase in core temp Caring for Heat Exhaustion • Stop activity, rest in cool/shady area • Replace lost fluids: – Quart of water with pinch salt added. Drink over a 20 minute period – Do not use salt tablets, too concentrated • • • • • Wet the patient down Gently stretch & massage cramped muscles Allow drowsy patient to sleep Recovery may take 24 hours When patient feels ok, allow to continue Signs/Symptoms for Heat Stroke • Core temperature rising to 105F • Disorientation, bizarre personality changes • Skin turning hot and red, may be dry • Elevated heart and respiratory rate • Headache • Seizures Care for Heat Stroke • True emergency, rapid cooling is essential – Remove from hot environment – Remove heat retaining clothing – Immerse in cool water or drench in cool/cold water • Concentrate cooling on head & neck • Use cold packs on neck, armpits, groin, hands, feet • Fan patient to increase evaporation Care for Heat Stroke (cont’d.) • Monitor patient closely & cease cooling efforts when normal status returns • Give cold water to drink, if patient can accept it • Do not give fever reducing drugs • Have patient see health care provider as soon as possible • Keep careful watch on patient, relapses common Signs/Symptoms for Hyponatremia • Appears to have heat exhaustion, but giving more water makes it worse • Also called “water intoxication” • Looks like heat exhaustion, but: – Urinated recently, urine clear – Claims drinking all day, denies being thirsty • Headache • Weakness & fatigue • Light headedness Signs/Symptoms for Hyponatremia (cont’d.) • • • • • • • Muscle cramps Nausea with/without vomiting Sweaty skin Normal core temp Normal/slightly elevated pulse/respiration rate Increasing level of anxiety More severe symptoms include disorientation, irritability, combativeness • If untreated, can lead to seizures, coma & death Caring for Hyponatremia • Mild to moderate cases can be cared for in the field • Rest in shaded area • Eat salty foods. Do not let them drink anything • If patient is well hydrated, restricting fluid intake is harmless • Once patient has normal hunger/thirst and normal urine output, the condition is resolved Scenarios • A 24 yr old, slightly overweight, competing in short distance tri-athalon. Says he drank 3 - 4 quarts water. Stumbling while running up a hill & stops at your first aid station Scenarios • A 68 yr old woman in excellent condition is working on wilderness survey. She is sweating while carrying camera equipment then becomes confused & vomits Guidelines for Evacuation • GO SLOW for patient who does not fully recover from heat exhaustion or mild hyponatremia • GO FAST for patient with altered mental state due to heat related issues, hyponatremia or experiences seizures Questions??? What else could you add to your First Aid Kit?