NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — With the spring and summer months upon us, heat related injuries will be on the rise. Here at Nellis, the Las Vegas summers can be especially brutal with daily temperatures over 100 degrees. Here are some facts and tips for dealing with a few of the more common heat related medical emergencies:
-Sunburn: Characterized by redness and pain, some swelling and blisters may be present. You may apply ointments but do not break open the blisters. If breaking occurs, apply a dry sterile dressing to the area. Extensive cases should be seen by a medical professional.
-Heat cramps: Painful spasms, usually in the legs or abdomen, and heavy sweating will be present. Apply firm pressure on the cramping muscles and take sips of water.
-Heat exhaustion: If someone is showing signs of heat exhaustion, heavy sweating, weakness, cold/ pale and clammy skin, fainting or vomiting, move them to a cool shaded location. Loosen tight clothing and apply cool wet cloths, if available. Call 911 immediately. You may give them small sips of water and continue to monitor them until emergency responders arrive.
-Heat stroke: This is a severe medical emergency. Call 911 immediately or bring the individual to a hospital immediately, delay can be fatal. Heat stroke is characterized by an extremely high body temperature, hot and dry skin. Sweating may or may not be present. Move the person to a cooler environment. Reduce body temperature with a cold bath or wet cloth. Remove clothing, use fans and air conditioners if available. Repeat process as many times as necessary until body temperature lowers or emergency responders arrive.
The best way to avoid heat related emergencies is preparation. If you know you’re going to be spending an extended period of time in the sun, wear sunscreen, stay properly hydrated, and take breaks as often as necessary to prevent injury.