Stay cool and hydrated in the weekend sun

Summer

Looks like the summer weather is here and over the weekend, temperatures are set to soar to the late 20s.

We know that working shifts in the heat is hard work, especially when wearing a uniform, carrying equipment and moving patients.

But please make sure you’re set for the warm weather as well.

Make sure to wear sun-cream in case you’re attending an incident outside, and have sunglasses on hand for driving in bright conditions. Keep hydrated and remember to take your white t-shirts off if too hot.

If you’re in a Trust building like EOC or are on a vehicle with air conditioning, check it’s working properly and notify estates or fleet respectively if you notice any problems.

Even though it’s hot, please make sure that windows and doors at station and depots aren’t left open when no one from the Trust is on site.

With the warm temperatures set to stay, we’ve been issuing advice to all sun lovers asking them to stay safe and consider other options than 999.

Heat related illnesses

With a rise in temperature, we often see an increase in calls to patients with specific heat related illnesses. Some to be aware of include:

  • heat cramps – caused by dehydration and loss of electrolytes, often following exercise
  • heat rash – small, red, itchy papules
  • heat oedema – mainly in the ankles, due to vasodilatation and retention of fluid
  • heat syncope – dizziness and fainting due to dehydration, vasodilatation, cardiovascular disease and certain medications
  • heat exhaustion – this occurs as a result of water or sodium depletion, with non-specific features of malaise, vomiting, dizziness, tachycardia, hypotension, sweating, muscle pain, weakness, cramps and headaches, and is present when the core temperature is between 37ºC and 40ºC. Left untreated, heat exhaustion may evolve into heatstroke.
  • heat stroke –where the body’s thermoregulation mechanism fails. This leads to a medical emergency, with symptoms of extreme fatigue, headaches, fainting, facial flushing, vomiting, diarrhoea, confusion, disorientation, convulsions, unconsciousness, hot dry skin, and core body temperature exceeding 40ºC for between 45 minutes and eight hours. In extreme cases it can result in cell death, organ failure, brain damage or death.

Please refer to your Ambulance Clinical Practice Guidelines for more information.

If you think we’ve missed anything, please comment below.

Published 15th June, 2017

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