Safety Tips

Safety Tip (April/May)

Safety and Heat Related Illnesses

Heat Cramps are muscular pains and spasms that occur when the body loses electrolytes (specifically salt and potassium).  This happens during profuse sweating, or exercise, and when fluids are not replaced by drinking water. Heat cramps usually begin in the arms, legs or abdomen and often precede heat exhaustion.  If you have heart problems or are on a low-sodium diet, get medical attention for heat cramps.

What to Do:  If medical attention is not required; Stop all activity, and sit quietly in a cool place. Drink water or a sports beverage. Do not return to strenuous activity for a few hours after the cramps subside (further exertion may lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke).

Seek medical attention for heat cramps if they do not subside in 1 hour.

Heat Exhaustion is a milder form of a heat-related illness, and often times results after multiple days of exposure to heat and exercise without the adequate replacement of fluids and electrolytes.  ***If you have High Blood Pressure you are at a higher risk for heat exhaustion***

Symptoms Include:  Profuse sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, exhaustion, dizziness, headache, nausea and/or vomiting and possible fainting.

What to Do:  It is best treated by taking the patient to a cool shaded or air-conditioned space, applying cool compresses (wet sheets, towels), elevating the feet and giving fluids, rest, remove or loosen clothing, use a fan to cool.

Heatstroke is the worst heat-related illness. The brain can no longer regulate body temperature. If someone has heatstroke they will be hot, reddish and warm to the touch. Their temperature will be markedly high and there will be no perspiration. This is a Medical Emergency: Call 9-1-1. 

While waiting for EMS

The emergency care of heatstroke is to cool the body as quickly as possible. One of the best methods for cooling the body during a heat emergency is to wrap the body in cool wet sheets, loosen/or remove clothing, move to shade or A/C quickly, elevate feet, and use a fan to cool the body while waiting Emergency help to arrive. 

A Safety Message brought to you by the Cortez High School Safety Committee

K.Weiler BSN RN, May-2010 (Adapted from