After a stormy few weeks, Indiana will receive a blast of hot summer air. While it’s not uncommon for it to be hot and sticky, emergency medical professionals with the Indiana Department of Homeland Security are reminding Hoosiers to be cautious with the brutal heat sometimes experienced in Indiana.
The National Weather Service predicts temperatures will reach past 90 degrees across most of the state. Combined with high humidity, the heat index in some areas will reach more than 100 degrees. Prolonged exposure to these conditions can lead to heat illnesses like heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
“Don’t wait until you start feeling symptoms before taking measures to combat heat exhaustion,” said Dr. Michael Olinger, State Emergency Medical Services Director. “Know your body’s limit. Don’t overexert yourself when outdoors and drink plenty of fluids, even if you’re not thirsty.”
There are three keys to staying safe in the heat: water, rest and shade.
1. Water: Drink plenty of water. Avoid carbonated or alcoholic beverages.
2. Rest: Take frequent breaks during outdoor activities, and try to avoid activities during the hottest part of the day.
3. Shade: Stay indoors to limit exposure to the sun. Check on family, friends, and neighbors who do not have air conditioning and who spend much of their time alone.
Remember that some people are at greater risk than others, especially the elderly, very young children, and those with respiratory conditions.
Symptoms of Heat Illness
The first signs of heat illness include muscle cramps and a flushed appearance. This can lead to more serious symptoms including: Throbbing headache; Dizziness and light-headedness; Lack of sweating despite the heat; Red, hot, and dry skin; Nausea and vomiting; Rapid heartbeat, which may be either strong or weak;
Rapid, shallow breathing; Behavioral changes such as confusion, disorientation, or staggering; Seizures;
Someone suffering from heat-related illness should be moved to a cool place to rest and drink water or a non-carbonated sports drink. Cool, wet washcloths or ice packs will help with recovery. If there is no improvement, body temperature won’t go down, or the person won’t take fluids, go to the emergency room immediately or call 911.
Hoosiers attending outdoor events this summer should know where first aid services are available in case someone needs help.