Insightsthe blog of Porter Hills
Staying Safe in the Heat of Summer
Nikki Urbon, RN QA/PI Manager
Why is heat safety so important?
During the summer months it is especially important to be aware of the dangers that high temperatures and a hot sun may pose, and to know how to be prepared for the heat.
On average, 675 people die from complications related to extreme heat each year in the United States – more than tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, lightning or any other weather event combined.
The effects can vary from minor issues like heat rash and heat cramp, to the more serious heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Extreme heat can lead to brain and organ damage, and even death.
What precautions can we take? What do we need to watch out for? Who is at risk?
General signs and symptoms of a heat related illness:
- Muscle cramps
- Cool, clammy skin
If any of these occur, get the person into a cool environment (A/C) or the shade, get them to drink cold water, and begin rapid cooling with hose, buckets of water, cold shower, wet sheet/towels, fans, etc.
Process and signs of heat stroke:
Heat stroke occurs when the body is unable to regulate its temperature.
- Body temperature rises rapidly. The sweating mechanism fails, Skin will appear red, hot, dry skin with no sweat. The body is unable to cool itself down.
- Vomiting may occur
- Fainting or unconscious
Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not provided.
Call 911. Get the person to a shady area or into AC if possible and then begin with the rapid cooling.
Who is at risk?
- Anyone who is exposed to high temperatures
- Infants, young children, elderly and those who are physically ill tend to be at greater risk
Ways we can protect ourselves and others:
- Stay Hydrated with 2 to 4 – 8 ounce glasses per hour – Water or Gatorade is best. Avoid Alcohol and caffeine
- Limit outdoor activity
- Avoid strenuous activity such as exercise outdoors
- Wear lightweight clothing
- Rest often in the shade
For more information: