There is a week of predicted high temperatures in the UK. The recent mostly high temperatures have resulted in us being exceptionally busy over the last few days – 5,200+ calls per day.
Please follow the advice given and try to keep cool.
Heat exhaustion (AKA heat prostration and heat collapse). This is the most common heat-related injury, and its basic mechanism is the same as heat cramps. The basic causes are heat exposure, stress, and fatigue. (It doesn’t have to be particularly hot before heat exhaustion is a possibility — wearing multiple layers of clothing that limit the effectiveness of sweating will do the job just fine. So, if you’re out hiking, take off layers; when you stop to rest, put on layers.)
- Dizziness, weakness, fainting, nausea, and headache.
- Onset while working in a high heat/high humidity/poor ventilation environment and sweating heavily. Infants, the elderly, and the unacclimatized may experience onset at rest.
- Cold, clammy, skin; ashen pallor.
- Dry tongue; thirst.
- Vital signs within normal limits, although the pulse may be rapid and the diastolic blood pressure (that’s the bottom number; the pressure when the heart isn’t contracting) may be low.
- Normal or slightly elevated body temperature.
What to do about all this: Take off any excessive layers of clothing, particularly around the head and neck. Get out of the hot environment (say, into the back of a nice air-conditioned ambulance). Drink a liter or so of water (slowly, so nausea doesn’t develop). Loosen restrictive clothing, lie down with your feet up, and use a fan for cooling.
I suggest that you go and read the whole article from the excellent Making Light then spend a few hours going through the archives. Although good luck trying to find an ambulance that has working air conditioning – I spent a long hot day in an LDV ambulance with the windows wound down gradually going deaf from the sirens. In a contest between hearing loss and headstroke, I guess I picked hearing loss*. Air-con seldom works in the newer ambulances either, and by the time it gets fixed there is normally snow on the ground…
*All of which makes me laugh at the people who cower when we go past on sirens, remember folks – I'm sitting under the bloody things all day and if the air-con doesn't work I'll have the window wound down working on my 'trucker's tan'.