Hall Ambulance Medical Director offers tips for dealing with the heat
As the summer starts to heat up and the sun reaches its solstice it’s important to re-visit some of the environmental emergencies that are indigenous to Bakersfield, namely heat injury. Hall Ambulance Service Medical Director, Dr. Ron Ostrom, explains that “heat related illness is a form of hyperthermia in which the body temperature is elevated dramatically”.
According to Ostrom, “The extreme form of heat stroke is a medical emergency and can be fatal if not properly treated.” Hall Ambulance’s Ostrom says that cooling the victim is a critical step in the treatment of heat stroke.
As is the case with all heat related emergencies however, Ostrom emphasizes that “The most important step is prevention.”
“An important component of prevention” according to Ostrom, “is adequate hydration and to avoid excessive physical activities in hot and humid weather.” The elderly and young are at greatest risk. Other at risk groups include athletes and outdoor laborers.
Avoiding dehydration can be accomplished with electrolyte containing sports drinks such as Gatorade, and water.
When heat illness occurs Ostrom recommends cooling the victim by moving them into a shady area, removing clothing, applying cool or tepid water, and fanning. Wearing light colored and loose fitting clothing is helpful, as well as spending at least a portion of the day in a cool environment.
Ostrom recommends that the elderly and medically frail spend as much time as possible in a cooler, climate controlled environment on hot days. Some of the spots recommended by Ostrom to cool off include shopping malls, restaurants, libraries, and the county operated cooling centers (call 800-510-2020 for more info).
“Every summer our paramedics come in contact with entirely too many heat related emergencies” according to Harvey L. Hall, Founder and President of Hall Ambulance Service; “Many of which are entirely preventable”.
“By following these simple steps, our hope is that everyone will have a safe and enjoyable summer” added Hall.