Cold and Heat-Related Illness and Some First Aid Tips

Man with cold

You’re setting your drum heaters high to prevent your stock from freezing, or you’re cleaning the pool to get it ready for your summer party. Suddenly, your fingers are too numb to move or you’re dizzy for no apparent reason. The next thing you know is you wake up in a hospital bed.

Frostbite and heat stroke are among the health problems that extreme heat or cold can inflict on people. It’s important to learn about these conditions and the things you can do to avoid them.

Cold-Related Illnesses

If a little breeze can give people colds, snow presents a whole set of other problems. Snow and cold wind can lower your body temperature if you’re exposed with no protection in cold weather. A dangerous condition that your body can develop in extreme cold is hypothermia.

When your body undergoes hypothermia, it experiences cold stress. You can tell that you have cold stress when you begin to shiver and slow down with fatigue. Prolonged exposure to cold can disorient you, put you in a state of unconsciousness, or in worst cases, death.

Frostbite or freezing of extremities such as fingers, ears, or the nose occurs in the same conditions. When ice forms around the body part and is not thawed off immediately, the nerves in that area will begin to lose its feelings. With time, these parts can be permanently damaged.

Heat-Related Illnesses

Stroke, exhaustion, cramps, and rashes are just some of the conditions that heat can cause, in addition to ever-persistent sunburn. Heat rashes and sunburn are quickly identified by the presence of red blisters and spots on your skin. Heat cramps can be medical emergencies if they persist for more than an hour or if you have a heart condition.

The worst are heat strokes and heat exhaustion. Headaches, nausea, dizziness, confusion, and the possibility of passing out are symptoms for both heat stroke and heat exhaustion. Heat stroke is differentiated by the victim’s high body temperatures, burning hot skin, and fast and strong pulse. Victims of heat exhaustion have fast, weak pulses, cold, pale, and clammy skin, muscle cramps, fatigue, and excessive sweating.

How to Treat or Prevent Weather-Related Conditions

Woman drinking water

The first thing you can do when you’re exposed to extreme cold or heat is head indoors or somewhere that has the opposite temperature of where you are. After you’ve assessed the scene, call the appropriate emergency service and carry out first aid procedures.

Remove tight and wet clothing from frostbitten areas in case you are facing this problem. Dry the skin and only rewarm the area with warm water if it is not in any danger of refreezing. Hypothermia victims must also be shed of any wet clothing once they are transferred to a warmer area. They must then be covered by blankets or warm clothing.

Treatment of sunburn, heat rashes and cramps begin by moving to a cool place. Sunburns and heat rashes are treatable with baby powder, moisturizing lotion, and resisting the urge to pop any blisters. Waiting for the cramps to go away while nursing a cold drink works for heat cramps.

Drinking water is imperative for people with heat exhaustion, but a complete no for people suffering from heat stroke. Cold cloths or baths help in both cases. Medical attention is immediately required for heat stroke victims while an ambulance needs to be called if the person suffering heat exhaustion begins vomiting or experiences the symptoms for more than an hour.

Whether you’re a factory worker ensuring that the drum heaters are working as advertised, or a harried parent working in the garden under the sun, you must ensure that you’re well-protected from the elements. Following the tips above is a great start to protecting yourself from preventable diseases and continuing with your usual routine.