Emergency Cases – Heat Illnesses and Dehydration

In order to prevent dehydration, it is important that individuals have a good understanding of what dehydration is all about. When an individual suffers from dehydration, it means that there is not enough water or fluid inside the body. However, there are some instances when the person becomes dehydrated because of certain heat emergencies, including heat stroke. Heat-illnesses are always associated with dehydration, which means that in order to prevent heat stroke, we need to prevent dehydration as well.

Severity of dehydration ranges from mild, moderate to severe, depending on the total amount of fluid loss. But keep in mind that severe dehydration is a life-threatening condition that should be given appropriate medical intervention.

What are the common causes of dehydration?

In cases where excessive heat is the reason, dehydration can happen as a result of too much sweating, wearing of too much clothes and not drinking adequate amount of water.

On the other hand, dehydration can also happen as a result of excessive vomiting, too much urination, diarrhea and fever.

Recognizing the symptoms of dehydration

Mild to moderate dehydration are easily recognizable. These include excessive thirst, sticky or dry mouth, dark-yellow urine, cool and dry skin, minor muscle cramps, head ache, and decrease in urination.

Severe dehydration, meanwhile, can be determined by the following: rapid breathing, sunken eyes, lightheadedness or dizziness, shriveled and dry skin, and amber-colored (very dark) urine.

Recognizing early signs of heat illness

Once dehydration occurs, heat illnesses will likely follow. It is therefore important to recognize early signs of heat illness, so we can take appropriate measures thereafter. These include thirst, fatigue, profuse sweating, weakness, increase in body temperature, weak and rapid pulse, vomiting and loss of consciousness.

First aid for heat illness and dehydration

  • Place the person in a cool environment to prevent heat from further accumulating in the body.
  • Assist the person in lying down; elevate the feet at least 12 inches to ensure adequate circulation on the lower extremities and prevent muscle cramps from developing.
  • If the person is conscious, have him/her sip water or energy drinks to replace the lost fluids and electrolytes in the body.
  • Let the person suck on ice cubes, as this helps lower down body temperature faster.
  • Remove any excessive clothing from the person’s body as this produces more heat even if he/she is already in a room temperature environment.

Important note

  • If the person loses consciousness, suddenly changes level of alertness, suffers from seizures, or has fever that does not subside by the time you are applying the following first aid, you need to call for emergency medical assistance immediately.

Related Video On Heat Stroke Prevention

[youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cR6FA5w8A1o” width=”220″]

Sources:

Heat Emergencies. (2014). University of Maryland Center. Retrieved online on May 19, 2014 from http://umm.edu/health/medical/ency/articles/heat-emergencies

First Aid & Emergencies. (2013). Web MD. Retrieved online on May 19, 2014 from http://www.webmd.com/first-aid/dehydration-in-children-treatment

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