We’ve already had several 90° (plus) days this summer. So now’s a good time to look at the differences between heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Once we familiarize ourselves with these differences, we’ll be able to spring into action if we come across someone who needs help.
Heat exhaustion isn’t as serious as heat stroke, but it can still be scary to deal with. There are two types of heat exhaustion: water depletion, where the person can be super-thirsty and weak. He or she might have a bad headache and can even pass out. The other type, salt depletion, can result in the person becoming nauseous and dizzy, with frequent muscle cramps. Even though he or she might be sweating, their skin could be cold and clammy. If heat exhaustion isn’t dealt with quickly it can progress to heat stroke, which is even worse.
Anyone suffering from heat exhaustion should be allowed to rest somewhere cool or in the shade. They should have any tight, uncomfortable clothing removed and they should be given something to drink (not alcohol or caffeine). Use fans and towels wrung out in ice water to further cool the person. If none of these methods don’t work within a half hour, get the person to the nearest emergency room.
Heat stroke can have the following symptoms: a high body temperature (104° or even higher); hot, dry skin (the person’s skin has already gone through the cold and clammy stage); no longer sweating; weak and vomiting; rapid, shallow breathing with an increased heart rate; and headache and confusion. As you can see by these symptoms, anyone with these symptoms is in real trouble—in addition, he or she might be incoherent and might even lose consciousness.
If you think someone is experiencing heat stroke, don’t waste time—call 911 immediately! People can die from heat stroke. While waiting for help to arrive, remove the person’s clothing if it’s too tight. Move him or her into the shade or into an air-conditioned room. Place ice packs or towels dipped in ice water around the neck, under the armpits, around the forehead, and in the groin area. If you’re not in an air-conditioned room, mist the person and turn on a fan.
Certain people are more susceptible to heat-related illnesses. The bodies of infants/toddlers up to age 4 and
people over age 65 can’t adjust to heat as easily as other folks, so precautions should be taken. Babies in strollers should be protected from direct sun on hot days and older adults should wear wide-brimmed hats or carry umbrellas (or parasols). Diabetics should be careful and people who take medication for high blood pressure should take precautions as well. Try to get all of your business taken care of in the morning, before the temperatures hit their peak (mid-afternoon).
Here are a few hints on beating the heat:
The hurricane season is here—in North Carolina, the season runs roughly from June 1 through the end of November. According to researchers at North Carolina State University, 14 to 18 tropical storms are expected to form around the Gulf of Mexico/Caribbean Sea this year. Seven to 11 might grow in strength and become hurricanes, depending on temperatures, wind factors, etc. When hurricanes roll up the east coast, the Outer Banks usually get hit hard, and the Triangle can get torrential rain and thunderstorms. Occasionally, tornados will form and cause serious damage.
As you would expect, people living in eastern North Carolina take heed of their local weather reports this time of year, and it’s a good idea to learn some of the terms related to hurricanes, just in case:
When tropical storms and hurricanes make the news, we often hear references to “categories,” which refer to wind speeds:
We don’t live close to the coast, but because it’s only a 2-hour drive away we should still take precautions. The effects of tropical storms and hurricanes have ruined countless homes and businesses in the Triangle through the years, and it’s worth preparing for. Putting together an emergency kit now is much better than running around trying to get everything at the last minute.
While talking to the kids about hurricanes and staying safe, you might want to take peeks at livestreams from various oceanfront locales.
Click on the Coastal Webcams photo below to take a look at various North Carolina beaches by way of mounted webcams.
Your emergency kit can start with a large plastic container/tub; most home-improvement stores carry huge ones.
There’s a mobile app called ReadyNC, which is both iOs and Android–compatible. This free app can be used to get weather updates, track storms, find shelter, check street and highway conditions, and much more. You can find invaluable information on their website by clicking here. (Clique aquí para español.)
Check out the Durham County Department of Emergency Management’s new AlertDurham app by going to alertdurham.com. You can track the storms and sign up for emergency notifications (you can choose text or email, and you can also set a “do not notify” period for your sleeping hours). You can register your whereabouts, whether you’re in your home or somewhere else; be sure to register your elderly neighbors and family members, too, especially if they live alone.