All over North America, we have been having crazy heat waves. In some places, people have been without power due to bad thunderstorms. Today its only 91 where I am but the other day was 114 and most of my family was sick due to the heat (not to mention sweaty and miserable).
Its important to recognize the signs and symptoms of heat illnesses (hyperthermia), especially in a survival situation where you can’t just pop into the mall with air conditioning.
There are a few levels of heat illnesses which progressively get worse if you don’t take care of yourself.
Heat Cramps: are caused by not having enough water and being too hot. Symptoms include: thirst, sweating, irritability, gastro symptoms (nausea, vomiting) and of course cramps (particularly in the abdomen).
Heat Exhaustion: excessive sweating, dizziness, headaches, confusion, COOL to the touch as well as all the previous symptoms. Treat these people as being in shock (but do not cover with a blanket, instead remove excessive clothing).
Heat Stroke: skin will be hot in heatstroke because the mechanism that makes you sweat to cool you down isn’t working anymore. The person suffering might be in shock, confused, as it gets worse you can start seeing things such as unconsciousness and seizures.
Always try to get the victim out of the heat (indoors or into shade). If they are conscious get them to drink cool water (but do not force them if they vomit). To increase cooling you can sponge them with cool water or cover them with cool wet sheets. Obviously, if available, get your person emergency medical attention as soon as possible.