EMS Education & Prevention

Heat Related Injuries

Each year we see numerous heat related injuries due to our climate. High humidity combined with temperatures over 95 degrees can result in three distinct types of injuries.

Heat Cramps – Painful cramping of large muscle groups such as the legs, arms, and abdomen. Treatment includes fluid and electrolyte replacement and movement to a shaded area.

Heat Exhaustion – More serious than heat cramps. Symptoms include heavy sweating, headache, light –headed, nausea and vomiting and core temp of 99-104 degrees. Treatment includes shaded environment, loosen clothing and 1-2 liters of fluid replacement over 2 to 4 hours.

Heat Stroke – Serious emergency! Elevated temperature with central nervous disturbance and possible absence of sweating. Damage to brain and vital organs are a real possibility. Treatment should include calling EMS and cooling the patient aggressively with a fan and ice packs in the groin and under the arm pits.

Certain medications can make a person have increased risk of Heat injuries. Laxatives, diuretics, and certain cold and allergy medication that are available over the counter can aggravate heat injuries. When in doubt ask you physician about risk factors for all medications you are taking. Remember, drink plenty of fluids.