Heat can become deadly, quickly

Published 2:24 pm Wednesday, May 31, 2006

By Staff
With summer almost upon us and 90 degree temperatures already here, it's important to keep yourself and your family members safe from heat related injuries.
The Indianapolis 500 is a prime example of what can happen when you expose yourself to high temperatures for a long - or even short - period of time.
Emergency workers treated more than 400 people in the first two hours of Sunday's race. Typically, workers treat 350 people during the entire event, but with temperatures climbing into the high 80s it was no surprise that people were suffering from heat related injuries.
Speedway officials did everything they could to keep fans cool. They set up a number of different misting tents, which also offered shade. But with so many people in attendance, not everyone was able to seek shade and stay cool.
To avoid these dangerous situations, always be sure you are prepared. Make sure plenty of water is on hand and, if you know you will be outdoors for a long period of time, dress appropriately and bring along an umbrella that will provide shade.
Misting fans are also a quick and easy way to cool off and can be purchased for less than $5.
Stay away from caffeinated beverages as they dehydrate the body very quickly. Also avoid carbonated beverages, which can cause bloating and deter you from drinking enough water. Light-colored clothing is also a key to staying cool in the sun.
Remember, water is the most important thing during the heat. It not only keeps your body hydrated, but it lowers your risk of getting heat-related illnesses.
If you suspect someone is having heat-related illnesses, check for these warning signs:
Rapid heartbeat
Rapid and shallow breathing
Increased or lowered blood pressure
Cessation of sweating
Irritability, confusion or unconsciousness
Fainting, which can be the first sign in older adults
Move the person out of the sun and into a shady or air-conditioned space. Dial 911 and blanket the victim with damp sheets.