AMBULANCE SERVICE EXPERT OFFERS TIPS ON AVOIDING HEAT ILLNESS

AMBULANCE SERVICE EXPERT OFFERS TIPS ON AVOIDING HEAT ILLNESS

Summer heat coupled with high humidity can create a deadly combination.

Clinical Education Specialist Devin Miracco of American Medical Response Ambulance Service said residents can take some simple precautions to minimize their risk of heat exhaustion or heat stroke, but he emphasized that the elderly, chronically ill individuals, obese people and substance abusers are more vulnerable than most.
In a heat wave, Miracco said, friends and family of elderly or disabled people should check on them frequently.

“There are specific ways to prevent heat illness,” Miracco said, adding that it can occur inside as well as outside, especially in buildings with no air conditioning or inadequate ventilation.

A major key to avoiding heat illness, Miracco said, is to continuously drink non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated fluids. Alcohol and caffeine, he said, cause the body to lose water, not store it.

He aid AMR recommends water or sports drinks that replace electrolytes. He said those who rely on water and who don’t have salt restrictions in their diets should mix one teaspoon of salt into each quart of water they drink.

Miracco advised avoiding strenuous activity in the heat of the day, if possible. He said those who can’t avoid strenuous activity must start taking in fluids well before any strenuous effort begins.

“Keep taking in the fluids throughout the day and evening,” he said. “Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.”

Other tips offered by Miracco include the following:

* Work outside only in the cooler morning and evening hours, if possible.

* Wear loose fitting, light-colored clothing made of fabric that breathes.

* Wear a broad-brimmed, loose weave hat and take it off from time to time.

* If your home has no air conditioning, spend the hottest hours of the day in a library, shopping mall, senior center or other public facility that is air conditioned.

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Reporters seeking more information or interviews may call county Public Information Director Jess Williams at (575) 525-5801.