Summer Safety Tips

Summer is one of the most enjoyable seasons but its heat can cause many medical problems.  These can be prevented if you understand how heat and dehydration affect the body.

Dehydration can be a serious medical problem that in the summer months is easily and quickly caused by heat and exertion.  If body fluids are lost more quickly than they are replaced a water imbalance will occur.  Most of this extra water is lost through profuse perspiration.  Initially your kidneys will compensate by retaining water.  But later when compensatory mechanisms have failed water is taken from the cells to maintain a normal blood volume.  This can cause serious problems.  Sweating is the body's cooling mechanism.  When you are dehydrated, your body is incapable of keeping itself sufficiently cooled.  Thus dehydration can lead to a progression of three heat related diseases.  

Heat Cramps -  These are caused by dehydration and electrolyte imbalances in the body due to sweating, water needs of the body.  Heat cramps are sometimes cause by physical overexertion.  Signs and symptoms include moist skin and cramping in large muscle groups.  This is the mildest heat related problem.

Heat Exhaustion - The moderate heat related illness is cause by slightly more severe dehydration and exertion.  Skin may be cooler to the touch and your body temperature is below 105 degrees F.  People with heat exhaustion may experience dizziness, fatigue and fainting episodes.  A classic sign of dehydration is orthostatic hypotension, where a person may feel like he he changes from sitting to standing quickly.

Heat Stroke - This is the most severe and potentially life threatening form of a heat related illness.  As with the others, heat stroke is cause by severe dehydration and prolonged exposure to heat.  A person's core body temperature may reach up to and beyond 105 degrees F.  This severe dehydration may lead to seizures, altered level of consciousness and/or coma.  Because so much water is lost, the circulating blood volume will be diminished which can lead to shock.  If left untreated, this can cause cardiac failure and death.

To keep from being dehydrated drink plenty of fluids.  If you are losing a lot of water through sweat, drink fluids with added electrolytes.  These include sport drinks and instant lemonade or iced tea.  If you notice yourself becoming, weak, dizzy, fatigued, thirsty or close to passing out, stop your work and get some fluids immediately.  If a heat related illness progresses to a medical emergency seek help by calling 911 immediately.

This page is meant for public education in basic medical safety issues.  The Cedarville Township Fire Department is not responsible for any further complications resulting from improper use of information contained on this page.




Cedarville Township Volunteer Fire Department
19 South St.
Cedarville, OH, 45314
Phone: 937-766-5851 - Email: ctvfd@woh.rr.com