CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — Knowing how to stay safe during hot weather can help you prevent heat stress injuries such as heat exhaustion and most dangerously, heat stroke.
“You’re going to have flushed skin, you’re going to be sweating profusely, you’re going to feel hot, and you may even get to a point where you’re starting to cramp up,” Jonathan Evans, paramedic with Kanawha County Ambulance said.
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, heat stroke occurs when the body is so overheated it can no longer control its temperature and can result in permanent disability or death.
“It can happen very quickly. I know in my own life I’ve been out in the summertime or early Spring and stayed active and not paid attention, and whenever I finally slowed down that’s when I really realized I had no energy,” Evans said.
Paramedic Johnathan Evans, was also a victim of heat illness. He says if you are working, being active, or exerting any energy in the sun, your chances for heat stress injuries are higher due to fluid loss from sweating.
“I hadn’t gone to the bathroom all day, I wasn’t really sweating as much as I should have been for the temperature, and I really needed to get some fluids in me. Once I sat down, I was probably down for an hour or two before I could get myself to do anything else,” Evans said.
Paramedics say some tips to avoid overheating are to drink plenty of water every 15 to 20 minutes, avoid dehydrating fluids like soda, coffee, or alcohol, stay out of direct sun, schedule air-conditioning breaks, use a damp rag, and slow down your pace. In extreme cases, medical attention is advised.
“It is a serious matter. We see it everyday. Soccer games, football games, elderly out in the heat, they just don’t realize how quickly it can happen,” Autumn Anderson, paramedic with Kanawha County Ambulance said.