by Shawn Purl
With summer upon us, it is important to remember the dangers that come with extreme heat. As always, protect yourself from sunburn with a good sunscreen--and consider re-applying throughout the day. Here are a few tips for more serious issues that will help you take care of yourself and your fellow motorcyclists during summer rides.
Heat Cramps - painful muscle spasms that usually occur in the legs and abdomen. Heat cramps are the least severe of the heat-related emergencies.
Heat exhaustion (early stage) - an early indicator that the body's cooling system is becoming overwhelmed. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include:
• Cool, moist, pale, ashen or flushed skin.
• Headache, nausea, dizziness.
• Weakness, exhaustion.
• Heavy sweating.
Heat Stroke (late stage) - when the body's systems are overwhelmed by heat and stop functioning. Heat stroke is a life-threatening condition. Symptoms of heat stroke include:
• Red, hot, dry skin.
• Changes in level of consciousness.
CARE FOR HEAT- RELATED EMERGENCIES:
Take the following steps to care for someone suffering from a heat related emergency:
• Move the person to a cool place.
• Loosen any tight clothing.
• Remove perspiration-soaked clothing.
• Apply cool, wet towels to the skin.
• Fan the person.
• If the person is conscious, give small amounts of cool water to drink. If the person refuses water, vomits or starts to lose consciousness:
o Call 911.
o Place the person on their side.
o Continue to cool the person by using water, ice, or cold packs on their wrists, ankles, groin, neck and armpits.
o Continue to check breathing and signs of life (coughing or movement in response to rescue breaths or a pulse).
Heat-related emergencies can be very serious. Be safe out there and stay cool.