August 2005

The dog days of summer have just a few more weeks of panting left with August upon us now. Though nobody’s looking forward to snow anytime soon, excessive heat can be just as deadly and knowing when to say when in the summer sun and humidity is just as important as knowing when not to drive in the snow.

Preventative measures for heat-related illnesses are mostly common sense, such as drink plenty of fluids, avoid caffeine and so on, but the symptoms of the most serious illness, heat stroke, aren’t as obvious. Here are heat stroke’s symptoms and what to do about them according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

Warning signs of heat stroke vary but may include the following:

• An extremely high body temperature (above 103 degrees, orally);

• Red, hot, and dry skin (no sweating);

• Rapid, strong pulse;

• Throbbing headache;

• Dizziness;

• Nausea;

• Confusion;

• Unconsciousness.

If you see any of these signs, you may be dealing with a life-threatening emergency. Have someone call for immediate medical assistance while you begin cooling the victim. Do the following:

• Get the victim to a shady area.

• Cool the victim rapidly using whatever methods you can. For example, immerse the victim in a tub of cool water; place the person in a cool shower; spray the victim with cool water from a garden hose; sponge the person with cool water; or if the humidity is low, wrap the victim in a cool, wet sheet and fan him or her vigorously.

• Monitor body temperature, and continue cooling efforts until the body temperature drops to 101-102 degrees.

• If emergency medical personnel are delayed, call the hospital emergency room for further instructions.

• Do not give the victim fluids to drink.

And here’s one last cool thought: October is only two months away, which can mean only one thing: The New York State Highway & Public Works Expo. This year it will be held on October 19 at the Verizon Center of Progress Building on the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse. Look in this space and other pages of September’s issue for information on the Snowplow Roadeo, exhibitors, door prizes and much more. P

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