Record setting heat can be dangerous.
During an average summer, some 200 people across the country die due to heat injuries from exposure to high summer temperatures.
Clearly, heat can be a force, particularly in Southern California, where temperatures exceeding 100 degrees in the suburban valleys and 110 degrees in the low desert areas are not uncommon during the summer and fall.
Overexposure to heat or excessive exercise in the heat also can cause other injuries. The severity of such injuries increases with age; heat cramps in a younger person may be heat exhaustion in a middle-aged person, but may be heatstroke in an elderly person. This occurs because the person has not adapted to the heat and is unable to adjust to changes in the body.
Heat Conditions, Symptoms and First Aid
What you might see in a heat injury
- Sunburn is usually a first-degree burn that involves just the outer surface of the skin. Symptoms include redness and pain. Severe cases may cause swelling, blisters, fever of 102 degrees, or above, and headaches.
First Aid: Use ointments, as well as cool baths or compresses, for less severe cases. Do not break the blisters; if blisters do break, use a dry germ-free dressing. In severe cases, consult a physician. Drink plenty of water.
- Heat cramps often are related to dehydration. Symptoms include: increased sweating with painful muscle spasms of the arms, legs, and occasionally, the abdomen.
First Aid: Remove the victim from the hot environment. Apply pressure on or gently massage the spastic muscles to relieve spasms.
- Heat exhaustion is the inability to sweat enough to cool yourself. Symptoms include: fatigue, weakness, dizziness, nausea, or vomiting, as well as cold, clammy, pale, red, or flushed skin. A marked body temperature rise will not occur.
First Aid: Remove the victim from the heat. Lay the victim down and loosen the clothing. Apply cold compresses and cool the body by fanning the victim or placing the victim in a cool environment. Consult a physician if vomiting continues.
This information is courtesy of the City of Santa Clarita's Emergency Management Office.