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Paramedic’s advice: Be heat smart

Proper hydration is key

Central Pennsylvania is experiencing some of the hottest weather we have been witness to this year.

The higher than normal temperatures along with unusually high humidity levels have prompted the National Weather Service in State College to issue Excessive Heat Warnings to much of the area. Heat Indexes (the level of discomfort the body feels) are expected to reach above 105 degrees.

When we are checking on our neighbors, the elderly, those with outside occupations as well as the young we should keep in mind the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and the more serious heat stroke.

Many victims experiencing heat exhaustion will present with the feeling of being faint and or dizzy, cool pail skin, muscle cramps, and excessive sweating. Those individuals need to be moved to a cool, air conditioned location and provided plenty of water to drink or they can take cool shower.

Those who are suffering from the more severe Heat Stoke could present with a throbbing headache, will no long be sweating, red hot, dry skin and may lose consciousness. This is a true medical emergency. Take immediate action to start to cool this person and call 911. Most importantly do not provide water to a person who is not fully conscious and can not drink fluids on their own.

Paramedics and Emergency Medical Technicians of Lock Haven EMS remind individuals to drink plenty of water, even if they do not necessarily feel “thirsty.” As a rule, those working in hot temperatures should drink at least four 8-ounce cups of water per hour but no more than six cups per hour for a total of 12 quarts per day.

Deputy Chief Ann Banfill also reminds individuals that “although they taste better than regular water, individuals should stay away from sugary sport drinks, coffee and tea. Such drinks can actually increase dehydration and make symptoms worse.”

In the end be heat smart.

Limit your outdoor activities to early in the morning prior to the hottest parts of the day, wear loose fitting lightly colored clothing and take many breaks. If you think you or another person is suffering from a heat related illness do not hesitate to call 911 and ask for assistance.

For more information please feel free to contact the Lock Haven EMS operations office at 570-748-1611.

Matthew Rodgers is a senior paramedic for Lock Haven EMS.

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