Our new flooring has been installed and we’ve been trying to move everything back into place, purging and cleaning as we go. The heat makes work like that completely miserable. I actually experienced some slight heat exhaustion and dehydration this weekend, it’s been just that warm.
I had planned an excursion to my uncle’s gardens this weekend, and we didn’t even do that. I’m sure I’ve missed any photo ops for his lovely poppies, but I imagine there will be a steady profusion of blooms over the next weeks.
So, while I have no garden photos to share from this weekend, I will toss out a few reminders to everyone about taking care of yourself during these lovely but hot summer days. As a Paramedic, I transported many patients to hospital with heat-related problems, some of them quite sick.
1. Drink lots of cool water. Stay hydrated — by the time you feel thirsty, you’re already dehydrated.
2. Wear a hat and light-colored clothing when working in the sun.
3. Know the signs of heat exhaustion which is a form of shock: pale skin, cool and moist to the touch, possibly with profuse sweating; dizziness; nausea and possibly vomiting; muscle weakness; fatigue; headache; muscle cramping; possibly fainting.
4. If you feel any combination of these symptoms while working in a hot environment, stop what you’re doing, get out of the sun, remove warm clothing, sponge off with cool water, drink small sips of water or a sports drink, never anything alcoholic. Rest until you feel better.
Left untreated, heat exhaustion can progress to heat stroke which is a true medical emergency.
5. The symptoms of heat stroke are different from heat exhaustion with one very important distinction — the skin is hot and dry to touch…the patient may radiate heat from their body. There may be a rapid pulse, difficulty breathing, agitation, confusion, seizure and possibly coma. These symptoms may come on rather suddenly.
Again, this is a medical emergency and the person should seek medical attention immediately. Do not delay! While waiting for medical assistance to arrive, remove clothing and cool the body by whatever means possible. It is critical that body temperature be brought down as quickly as possible to prevent damage to the brain and other organs — drape with wet sheets, place ice packs or bundles of ice cubes around head, under arms, on the groin. Fan the patient. Keep them at rest.
Fortunately, these heat related conditions can be avoided, as can sunburn, with a little common sense.
6. Use a sunblock when planning to be in the sun for an extended period of time. Use a high enough SPF# for your skin type.
Should you or a family member sustain a burn, treat it as you would any other burn. For a general reddening of the skin, cool the burn with a cold wash cloth or small towel…this will provide as much relief as most commercial sunburn preparations.
Should your sunburn blister, you’ve got a second degree burn and it should be treated as such. DO NOT break blisters. Cool the area as outlined above and cover with a dry dressing or soft, clean t-shirt. All blistered burns should be seen by a physician who may or may not drain the blisters and may or may not prescribe an antibiotic ointment to ward off infection. Much depends on the size and location of the burn.
A little common sense goes a long way. :) Don’t let the heat get the best of you (says she who doesn’t heed her own advice!) and enjoy this wonderful season safely. Drink up!