Be careful when you get out in the heat

Published 7:09 pm Monday, July 5, 2010

The Demopolis Fire and Rescue Department wants people to be safe and healthy in the heat and asks people to be mindful of their condition after prolonged exposure to the heat.

There are three types of heat-related injuries: heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Heat cramps are the mildest of these injuries and are characterized by severe muscle pain and spasms.

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While heat cramps are seldom serious, they should not be take lightly. Hat cramps are an early warning sign that the body is having difficulty adjusting the heat.

Heat exhaustion is a more serious form of heat stress. It occurs as a result of body fluids being lost through heavy sweating during exercise or other strenuous activity.

Signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion are extreme sweating, dry mouth, fatigue, weakness, headache, nausea and dizziness.

Heat stroke is the most severe of the three types of heat-related injuries and is considered a medical emergency.

Signs that a child has experienced heat stroke include a very high temperature (104 degrees or higher); has hot, dry, red skin; no sweating; confusion; deep breathing and possibly a loss of consciousness.

Heat-related injuries can be avoided by taking the proper precautions in the summer months.

All heat-related injuries are caused by a lack of hydration, so the key to prevention is replenishing the body with plenty of fluids, preferably water. Children should take 30- to 40-minute breaks from the heat during the day to avoid heat-related injuries.

People should dress in light, loose-fitting clothes such as cotton so sweat can evaporate.

Wear clothing that is appropriate for the season and the environment that you are in. if your job requires you to wear protective clothing, that’s understandable , but you need to take other precautions to prevent heat-related injuries.

Avoid giving children drinks with caffeine and sugar. These beverages actually cause the body to lose more fluids.

Make sure that children are well-hydrated before starting prolonged physical activity.

Children should drink liquids periodically during activities, even if they don’t feel thirsty.

Always drink plenty of water, especially if you are in a hot environment or exercising.

Any time that you are sweating, you need to replace the fluid that you lose, so bring water with you if you are planning on spending time outdoors or working out.

If you have to be outside for long periods of time on a hot day, take frequent breaks either indoors or in a shady area.

Drink water on these breaks to keep yourself hydrated and keep your body cool.