Southern Nevada Health District Reporting Increase In Heat Related Deaths

Extreme Heat Can Affect Childern, The Elderly And Outdoor Workers

July 05, 2018 - 2:38 pm
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LAS VEGAS (KXNT) - The Southern Nevada Health District reported 123 heat-related deaths among Clark County residents in 2017, an increase from 78 reported deaths in 2016. Heat-related deaths typically happen between May and September. July is consistently the deadliest month, and 48 (about 40 percent) of the fatalities occurred during that timeframe this past year.

The Health District is urging all residents and visitors to take the recommended precautions to prevent illness when working or playing outdoors, to learn the symptoms of heat-related illness, and to know the appropriate responses if an emergency or urgent situation does happen. Extreme heat can affect anyone, but certain people are more at risk, including those who are 65 years of older, young children, and people who work or exercise outdoors, live in low-income households, are experiencing homelessness, or have chronic medical conditions.

It is important to be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of heat-related illness to ensure appropriate treatment:

HEAT STROKE

Heat stroke occurs when the body's temperature rises rapidly, the sweating mechanism fails, and the body is unable to cool itself down. Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not provided.

Symptoms include:

*High body temperature (103 F or higher)

*Hot, red, dry, or damp skin

*Fast, strong pulse

*Headache

*Dizziness

*Nausea 

*Confusion

*Losing consciousness

If heat stroke occurs seek medical attention immediately:

*Call 9-1-1 right away--heat stroke is a medical emergency

*Move the person to a cooler place

*Help lower the person's temperature with cool cloths or a cool bath

*DO NOT give the person anything to drink.

HEAT EXHAUSTION

Heat exhaustion happens as a result of a body overheating. In hot weather, a body cools itself mainly by sweating. If someone overexerts themselves in hot, humid weather, the loss of sweat over time inhibits the body's ability to cool itself efficiently.

Symptoms include:

*Heavy sweating

*Cold, pale, clammy skin

*Fast, weak pulse

*Faintness, dizziness

*Tiredness, weakness

*Nausea

*Headache

*Muscle cramps

If symptoms occur:

*Move to a cool place

*Loosen clothing

*Use cool, wet cloths, or take a bath to cool down

*Sip water

Seek medical attention immediately if:

*Vomiting occurs

*Symptoms get worse

*Symptoms last longer than one hour

HEAT CRAMPS

Heat cramps are the mildest of three heat-related syndromes. Prompt treatment of heat cramps will usually prevent progression to heat exhaustion.

Symptoms include:

*Heavy sweating during intense exercise

*Muscle pain or spasm

If symptoms occur:

*Move to a cool place

*Loosen clothing

*Use cool, wet cloths, or take a bath to cool down

*Sip water

Seek medical attention immediately if:

*vomiting occurs

*Symptoms get worse

*Symptoms last longer than one hour

Heat-related illnesses are preventable. Taking simple precautions will allow people to enjoy summer activities while staying safe and healthy.

*Plan outdoor activities for when it's coolest, during early morning and evening hours.

*Rest often in shady area to allow your body time to recover.

*Wear appropriate clothing. Choose lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothes.

*Wear a wide-brimmed hat outdoors.

*Wear sunscreen SPF 15 or higher. Apply 20 minutes before going outside.

*Drink plenty of water regardless of how active you are--don't wait until you are thirsty to drink.

*Avoid sugary or alcoholic beverages.

*Keep your pets hydrated.

*Check on older neighbors and loved ones.