Heating Up

Article excerpt

"If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen." - Harry S. Truman (1884-1972), U.S. President. Quoted in Mr. Citizen, Ch. 15 (1960).

Summer is definitely here! Now if the weatherman keeps warning that it's a full-blown summer, everyone should have an idea what damage heat can do. These are called heat emergencies.

Common Causes. All of these contribute to the onset of heat emergencies:

* High temperatures or humidity.

* Prolonged or excessive exercise.

* Heavy, layered clothing.

* Alcohol use (causes dehydration).

* Medication such as diuretics (given in hypertension, usually).

Summer means Dehydration. It's almost certain that this is the best time of the year to get into the bottled water business. That's if people know what dehydration is and its symptoms. It's especially important to recognize heat stress in children because they are most prone yet least defensible. They have more body surface per pound of weight compared to adults. Early dehydration symptoms are thirst, fatigue, irritability, dry mouth and just plain feeling hot.

Heat Cramps and Syncope. A mild form of heat illness is muscle cramping and it happens mostly to athletes exercising under the sun with little hydration. Immediately, get that person into the shade, stretch the affected muscle and rehydrate with water. If there's a sports drink available, the high sodium content is a plus. However, if more than 8% of the drink is carbohydrate, absorption would not be as fast as H2O. In a hot environment, fainting or dizziness can result after getting up suddenly from a standing or sitting position. Sometimes all it takes to conk out is prolonged standing. This kind of fainting is called heat syncope. Return the person to a lying position and try to give water when revived. Bring the patient to the emergency room if unconscious. …