Take charge, ‘Beat the Heat’

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Orenthia Herren
  • 908th ASTS
A s we get into the Alabama summer and the temperatures continue to rise, it is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of heat illnesses as members of the "Fit to Fight' culture.

Heat illness is caused by over exposure to hot environments. There are three types of heat illness: heat cramps (often caused by dehydration), heat exhaustion (also caused by dehydration), and heat stroke (shock, a medical emergency).

Symptoms of heat cramps are profuse sweating, fatigue, thirst and muscle cramps. If you notice someone experiencing any of these symptoms, move them to a cool place and apply cool cloths or cool water directly to their skin. A fan can also be used to help lower their body temperature. If left untreated, heat cramps can lead to heat exhaustion.

Heat exhaustion is characterized by more severe symptoms and needs to be treated immediately. Symptoms include headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting and possible weakness. A person suffering from heat exhaustion needs to be treated immediately to avoid the possibility of the most severe heat illness, heat stroke.

Heat stroke is a medical emergency that, if left untreated, can lead to death. Symptoms of heat stroke include, fever of 104 degrees or greater, extreme confusion, rapid breathing, seizures, and loss of consciousness.

A call to 911 should be made as soon as possible for someone suffering from heat stroke.

Heat illnesses are easily preventable by taking precautions in hot weather such as wearing loose-fitting, lightweight clothing. Rest frequently and seek shade when possible. Avoid exercise or strenuous physical activity outside during hot or humid weather. Drink more fluids before, during, and after physical activity. Be careful of hot cars in the summer and allow the car to cool off before getting in.

By following these heat illness safety tips, you will be able to safely work and play during these hot summer months.