Heat Stroke: Common Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention

Heat stroke, also known as sunstroke, is a dangerous malady that happens when your internal body temperature rises above 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius). Caused by high temperatures, if gone untreated, could lead to damage to many of your internal organs, including your brain. Avoiding this, especially in the hot summer months, is very important. The simplest way to ensure staying healthy is by drinking lots of water. Drinking water can be made more enjoyable by adding flavors, or by motivating yourself with a reward for drinking more than 8 cups of water each day.

Heat Stroke Symptoms

Vomiting
Headache
Confusion or agitation
Muscle weakness
Not sweating in the heat
Seizures
Nausea
Fast pulse or rapid breathing
Fainting
Loss of appetite

Heat Stroke Prevention

Stay hydrated! Staying hydrated prevents you from losing too much liquid in your body by sweating.
Wear loose clothing. As much as you want to wear as little clothing as possible, wearing loose, billowy clothing is actually much better for keeping you cool because of how little it actually touches your body, while also protecting you from the sun’s harmful rays.
WEAR SUNSCREEN!!! This should go without saying, but sunscreen should be applied regularly, and only contain SPF 30 or higher.
Try to avoid being outside. Less exposure to the sun means less risk.
Try not to drink very much alcohol or coffee. Both of these drinks are dehydrating, and being hydrated is one of your main defenses against heat stroke.
Avoid heavy exercise
Invest in a fan. For a floor fan, try this bestselling, oscillating one.
Eating foods with heavy water concentrations, such as watermelon, cucumbers, and celery

Heat Stroke First Aid

Call 911 immediately if you suspect someone has heat stroke. The longer you wait for medical treatment, the worse the condition.
Keep them as cool as possible. Move them to an air-conditioned area, if you can, or at least as far out of direct sunlight as you can find.
Put them in cold water, such as a shower or bath. Natural bodies of water work too, as long as they’re cold and the patient has no risk of drowning.
Fan them while spraying them with cold water.
Put them in an ice bath, BUT only if they got heat stroke from exercising. It’s dangerous to put children or senior citizens in an ice bath, and especially if it wasn’t sustained while exercising.
Put ice packs in sensitive places close to blood vessels. Ice packs are best around the neck, armpits, groin, back, and inner knees. You can buy a pack of 24 disposable ice packs, and keep them in your first aid kit in case of an emergency.
Have them drink lots of water
Check their body temperature regularly
Make sure they’re lying down, with their feet slightly propped up

Higher Risk for Heatstroke Included People with:

Diabetes
Alcoholism
High blood pressure
Physically exhausting jobs, such as gardening
Recreational drug usage
Mental illnesses
Certain medicines, including antihistamines, diuretics, SSRIs, antipsychotics, and heart medicine.

Never leave children or pets in the car on a hot day. Between the year 2000, and 2017, over 500 children have died from being left in the car. Pets, especially dogs, are even more susceptible to heat. The inside of a parked car can quickly reach 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Leaving a window cracked does not do very much, and it has been recommended that you bring your pet to the storefront, and leave it in the shade with a bowl of water, if possible. Children have occasionally been forgotten in the back seats of cars. There are many ways to avoid this, such as leaving your wallet in the backseat next to them. If a child is left on purpose in a car, the guardian can be liable to prosecution.

Swimming may be a good way to keep cool, but always remember to drink water and apply sunscreen. Another way to keep cool and have fun this summer is to explore some. Museums and libraries typically have air-conditioning, along with some interesting things you might not have seen before. Heat exhaustion is often a precursor to heat stroke, so if you feel fatigued after spending some time in the sun, get to someplace cool as soon as possible, and start rehydrating.

Chemical Poisoning

Despite taking precautions like labeling poisonous chemicals and keeping them out of the sight and reach of children, chemical poisoning emergencies do arise. Let us prepare ourselves for the quick and decisive action that is called for.

Domestic chemical poisons can be divided into three categories: 1. Corrosives like acids and alkalis. 2. Petroleum products. 3. Pesticides.

There are three ways that poisonous chemicals can get into the human system and wreak their havoc. They may be taken in

through the mouth (ingested)
through the nose (inhaled) or
through the skin (absorbed)

Depending on the concentration dosage and duration of exposure, these poisons (especially corrosives) do the most harm when they are ingested as they impair the mouth, foodpipe (esophagus) and stomach and, if aspirated, even the lungs, thus impairing breathing.

But whatever the chemical, and whether it is ingested or inhaled, if the person is semi-conscious, unconscious or convulsing, do not give any fluids or try to induce vomiting. If he is semi-conscious or unconscious, make him lie on his side so that the fluid drains out and stay by his side. Contact an ambulance service or try to get him to a hospital a soon as possible.

If the person is conscious, look for specific symptoms of chemical poisoning like burn marks or swelling around the mouth, increased salivation, constricted pupils, a pungent smell or spray paint on the face and hands. (Many non-specific symptoms like vomiting, mental confusion, breathlessness, convulsions and even coma may be mistaken for other acute illnesses.)

Though, in most cases, antidotes are indicated by the manufacturer on the packaging of domestic products that can cause poisoning, they are not always accurate or adequate. Nevertheless, locating the container helps in ascertaining the nature of the poisonous chemical so that suitable first aid measures can be taken.

The specific measures depend upon the category in which the chemical falls:

CORROSIVES

ACIDS

Some acids in common domestic use are: hydrochloric acid, bleach (sodium hypochlorite and oxalic acid), toilet bowl cleaner (sulphuric acid), and phenyl (carbolic acid).

Symptoms of acid poisoning: Scalding, and hence a burning pain around the lips and the mouth, palate, the tongue and, most probably, the hands. Acids act on clothes by completely eating them away, giving the impression that holes have been cut out. The person may also cough and get breathless.

How to treat:

DON’T

Induce vomiting by pressing a finger down the throat or making the person drink saline water: the convulsive movements of vomiting put a strain on the walls of the stomach and may perforate it. If the stomach gets perforated and the acid leaks into the peritoneal (abdominal) cavity, it could prove fatal. Besides, if vomiting is induced, on its return journey up the esophageal tract, the acid will compound the damage.
Give an alkali (like soda bicarb) in the hope of neutralizing the acid. The equally corrosive alkali will aggravate the damage done by the acid. Besides, the chemical reaction that takes place between the two will release carbon dioxide which will bloat the stomach and increase the chances of peroration.

WHAT TO DO:

If the person appears to have difficulty breathing or if he has stopped breathing, give mouth-to-mouth respiration. This is done by positioning the person flat on his back on a hard surface. Kneeling at his side, place one hand under his neck and the other on his forehead and gently tilt his head back so the chin points up. Pinch the nose shut and give four quick breaths at the rate of twelve times a minute or once every five seconds for an adult; and twenty times per minute or once every three seconds for a small child or infant.

If the person begins to vomit, turn his head to one side to allow the vomitus to drain out so that it does not enter the airway.

If the person is convulsing, keep calm and place a padded object such as handkerchief between his teeth to prevent him from biting his tongue or cheek. Don not force his jaw open if he has already clamped it shut. Loosen tight clothing. Once the convulsive movements stop, turn him on his side to allow his tongue to fall forward and excess saliva to drain out of his mouth.

If the person is in shock, the symptoms will include: shallow breathing, weak pulse, nausea and vomiting, shivering, pale, moist skin, dropping eyelids, dilated pupils, mental confusion and even collapse. Keep the victim lying down and elevate his feet by about 12 inches. Maintain normal body temperature. Give nothing by mouth.

If the person is conscious and is not convulsing, quickly give about three tablespoons of vegetable oil, or milk cream, or melted butter or the white of an egg. They partly neutralize the acid and form a protective coating along the lining of the mouth, pharynx, esophagus and stomach to prevent further damage.

If the acid has entered the eyes and the person wears contact lenses, remove the lenses first and flush with plenty of water. If only one eye is contaminated, turn the head so that the injured side is down and flood the inner corner with cool water for at least five minutes. Or, hold the eye under a stream of cold water from a tap, making sure the acid does not wash into the other eye. Cover with clean gauze but not with absorbent cotton (the fibres can get lodged in the eye.)

Similarly, wash off any acid from the skin with plenty of water preferably under a tap or shower.

Remove contaminated clothing. Rush the person to the hospital to minimize late complications like narrowing of the esophagus which involves long-term surgical measures for correction.

Alkalis

In the domestic setting, these may be found in drain cleaners (sodium hydroxide), button batteries (sodium and potassium hydroxide), and products containing ammonia.

Symptoms: Since alkalis are also corrosive, the symptoms will be the same as in the case of acids, only the membranes of the mouth appear white and swollen, instead of scalded.

How to treat:

The action to be taken is also similar, only don’t five an acid in the hope of neutralizing the alkali as its corrosive action will worsen the damage.

Button batteries if swallowed are removable with a gastroscope (inserted into the stomach through the mouth) or through surgery.

PETROLEUM PRODUCTS

These include gasoline, kerosene, benzene, lighter fluid, furniture polish and paraffin.

Symptoms: Burning irritation in the throat, coughing, breathlessness and possibly shock.

DON’T

Induce vomiting as the poison could enter the lungs via the windpipe on its way up and induce chemical pneumonia.
Give water. Petroleum products, because of their low density, float on water, which increases the chances of their entering the lungs and causing chemical pneumonia.

How to treat:

If he has difficulty breathing or has stopped breathing, give mouth-to-mouth respiration.

Treat for shock, if necessary.

Only the absence of the symptoms listed above (an indication that a small quantity has been ingested) should the person be inducted to vomit.

As there is no specific antidote, it’s important to take the person to a hospital as soon as possible.

PESTICIDES

These fall into two categories:

Organophosphorus compounds. All cockroach and bug repellents come in this category.
This category includes DDT (an organochlorine insecticide), moth repellent, also called naphthalene balls (hydrocarbons), and rodenticides or rat poison (phosphide).

Symptoms: A strong, pungent smell pre-dominates.

Since the chemical stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, it brings on a constriction of the pupils and increased salivation. It may also bring on nausea, vomiting, breathlessness, drowsiness, sweating, convulsions and even coma.

How to treat:

If the person has difficulty breathing, give mouth-to-mouth respiration.

Induce vomiting by giving two glasses of water with at least two teaspoonful of common salt stirred into each glass. If the person does not vomit, give more of this solution until he vomits and the vomitus stops smelling of the poison. Children who cannot easily be induced to drink such a solution should be forced to vomit by pressing a finger down their throat.

Collect the vomitus and take it, along with the container of the product, to the hospital.

Do not delay transporting the victim. As the chemical stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, it brings on increased motility (movements) of the gastrointestinal tract, and if the poison travels from the stomach to the small bowel it will cause further damage.

WHEN POISONS ARE INHALED:

Chemical poisoning can be caused by inhaling gases such as carbon monoxide, volatile liquids like gasoline, turpentine and paints, or the fumes from acids or from pesticides such as cockroach and mosquito repellents or DDT.

Carbon monoxide collects due to incomplete combustion of gasoline in a car, particularly when it is left in a closed garage with its motor running; or when heating equipment, including gas ranges, are used in poorly-ventilated rooms.

Signs and Symptoms: Coughing

Rapid or slow pulse

Irritation or burning of the eyes

A burning sensation in the mouth, nose, throat and chest

A burning or itching in the underarms, groin and other moist areas of the body

Severe headache

Nausea and vomiting

Another helpful indication is the presence of spray paint or other substances on the person’s face.

However, it is important to realize that carbon monoxide, being odourless and tasteless, will give rise to practically no symptoms except headache. It may, however, cause the lips and cheeks of a fair-skinned victim to turn red.

How to treat:

Take a gulp of fresh air before entering a dangerously-polluted room.

Get the person away from the contaminated air and into fresh, clean air.

If the person is not breathing, begin mouth-to-mouth respiration promptly.

If he is conscious and breathing, ask him to take deep, slow breaths.

Loosen his clothing, using minimal contact, so as to avoid getting skin burns.

Get the person to a hospital a soon as possible.

WHEN POISONS ARE ABSORBED:

Poisonous chemicals which fall in this category include organophosphorus compounds (cockroach and bug repellents), fungicides, rodent poison, wood preservatives, paints, varnishes, paint thinners, waxes and polishes, motor oil and de-greasers and aerosols (spray insecticides). Absorbed poisons usually irritate or damage the skin. However, if they are highly concentrated and absorbed in large amounts, they can enter the blood-stream via the blood vessels under the skin and bring on the same symptoms as if the poisons were ingested.

Symptoms: Skin reactions from mild irritation to burns.

Itching

Irritation of the eyes

Headache

How to treat:

Carefully brush off any dry chemicals from the skin.

Wash the areas exposed to the poison with plenty of water. Remove all contaminated clothing, shoes and accessories, including jewellery, wrist watch, etc.

Then, once again wash the affected areas with soap and water.

Transport the person to a hospital.

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The Best Ways to Get Rid of Leg Cramps

Have you ever been struck by a sudden, painful leg cramp? Most of us have at some point, and it’s not a pleasant experience. All we can think about is how to get leg cramp relief. Most of the time the leg cramp will disappear as fast as it came. But what about those leg cramps that won’t go away no matter what you do? There is relief. Check out the leg cramp remedies below to find out what people have found most helpful. These leg cramp treatments have been tried and tested by millions of people for hundreds of years.

• Stretching

One of the reasons people get leg cramps is that they are overusing a particular muscle. So, if you are working on a specific task, try changing your position or using other muscle groups. If you are stationary or lying down, try to get up and stretch periodically. The key is that you don’t want your leg muscle overworked. At the same time, you don’t want your leg muscles lying idle, such as when you are sitting in a chair all day either.

• Water

Most of the time leg cramps are caused by dehydration. This one is an easy fix, but it’s something that a lot of people neglect. Try to drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially if you continue to have cramps. A lot of people don’t like drinking water, so grab a drink such as Gatorade if you don’t like the taste of water.

• Hot or Cold

For those leg cramps that don’t seem to go away, a hot or cold press is sometimes needed. Take a cold towel or an ice pack and apply it to the area of the cramp. Sometimes a heat pack will work better. You will have to experiment to see what works best for you. You can buy small heating packs or even a small heating pad at Amazon.com relatively inexpensively if you shop around. An ice pack is generally used by most people, but buying a small heating pad could be a worthwhile investment.

• Massage

Massaging the area is the most common technique that most people try. The great news is that it works! Just remember to take it slow, and don’t apply too much pressure. You want to slowly work the leg cramp out. Gently massage the area surrounding the cramp and work your way directly over where it hurts. Don’t try to rush it. Go slow until the muscle starts to relax and you feel relief.

• Vitamins

Your muscles need a lot of different vitamins. Lack of vitamins, such as B12, have been associated with nocturnal leg cramps. You can take a multivitamin to help give your muscles the vitamins and minerals your muscles need. Be sure to talk to your doctor before taking any medication. Allergies and other relevant information are important to let your doctor know.

• Keep Legs Warm During the Winter

Keeping your legs warm in the winter can also prevent leg cramps. No one is sure why the cold causes leg cramps, but many have speculated that the cold could cause the leg muscles to contract. Leg and foot warmers can be found at places such as Amazon or your local department store.

• Foot Bath/Soak before Sleep

If you decide to try a foot bath, make sure you use epsom salt. Epsom salt contains magnesium which will absorb into your skin to help with cramps. You can also try mixing in some apple cider vinegar which is high in potassium. These two minerals are electrolytes, which carry the electric signal to your brain for muscle contraction and relaxing.

• Moving

If leg cramps hit you at night, sometimes it’s good to get up and move around. A cramp is caused by a muscle not relaxing. So, by moving you can reset that process in your brain by causing the muscle to contract and then relax again.

• Calcium

A lack of calcium can cause leg cramps as well. Calcium is an electrolyte, which, when low, will not allow your leg muscles to relax. Eating foods such as milk, cheese, and yogurt, which are high in calcium, can help. If dairy products don’t work for you, eat things like broccoli, sardines, or kale, which are all high in calcium as well.

Most of the time leg cramps are caused by something that is preventing your muscle from relaxing, so you may need to experiment to see what works for you. Just remember to keep hydrated and try to stretch periodically throughout the day. If none of these methods work, then you may need to see a doctor. Sometimes a doctor can prescribe a vitamin that your body is lacking. So, follow up with your doctor if you feel that you may have a more serious problem.