Extension service issues warning, tips as temperatures and heat index climb
Posted: Monday, June 14, 2010 8:56 pm
By EMILY WILLIAMS
Extreme heat is believed to be the cause of a 29-year-old man’s death Sunday morning at the Bonnaroo Music Festival near Manchester. The man’s core temperature reached 108 degrees, according to the Associated Press.
The national weather service has issued a heat advisory for West Tennessee that will be in effect until 10 tonight as highs will be in the mid-90s with heat index ratings reaching 102 to 107 this afternoon.
According to the University of Tennessee Extension Service, people may suffer from heat stress during hot, humid conditions, and the climate in Tennessee is conducive to heat stress in the form of heat syncopy (fainting), heat rash, heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
When working outside, people should limit strenuous physical activity during the hottest portion of the day, wear a brimmed hat when in the sun, take frequent breaks and drink plenty of fluids.
According to the UT Extension Service, heat stress occurs in four forms:
• Heat syncopy most often occurs when people are standing still for long periods of time, because this allows blood to pool in the feet and may cause the person to faint. To prevent the onset of heat syncopy, do not stand still for long periods. If you must stand in one place for long periods, raise up on your toes several times each minute, drink plenty of fluids and eat healthy meals while in heat stress situations.
• Heat rash is caused by the body’s inability to remove perspiration and most often occurs in the waist area where clothing rubs on the skin constantly. Heat rash can be alleviated by wearing loose-fitting clothing and by the use of baby powder or cornstarch in areas prone to the rash.
• Heat exhaustion is usually caused by strenuous physical activity and hot, humid conditions. Because heat exhaustion is the body’s response to insufficient water and salt, it should be treated as quickly as possible. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include restlessness, headache, dizziness, nausea, moist or clammy skin, cramps in the abdomen and limbs, shallow breath or a rapid, weak pulse. If you believe someone has heat exhaustion have the victim lie down in cool or shaded place. If the victim is conscious, have them slowly sip cool water, but do not force the victim to drink. If the victim is unconscious or is conscious but does not improve, seek medical aid as soon as possible.
• Heat stroke is usually caused by exposure to extreme heat and humidity. Heat stroke occurs when the body can no longer control its temperature by sweating. It is extremely dangerous and may be fatal if not treated immediately. Symptoms include red, hot, dry skin, headache, dizziness, high temperature, strong pulse, noisy breathing and unconsciousness. If you believe someone has had a heat stroke immediately move the victim to a cool place and remove the victim’s clothing. If the victim is conscious, place them in a half-sitting position and support the head and shoulders. If the victim is unconscious, place him on the side with head facing sideways. Fan the victim and place cool wet cloths on the body. Seek professional medical help as soon as possible.
Editor’s Note: Emily Williams, the daughter of Roger and Juli Williams of Woodland Mills, is a senior at Rhodes College in Memphis. She is interning at The Messenger this summer.
Published in The Messenger 6.14.10