HEAT EXPOSURE

General Considerations

  •  Geriatric patients, pediatric patients and patients with a history of spinal injury or diabetes mellitus are most likely to suffer heat-related illnesses. Other contributory factors may include heart medications, diuretics, cold medications and psychiatric medications.

  •  Heat exposure can occur from increased environmental temperatures, prolonged exercise, or a combination of both. Environments with temperatures above 90 F and humidity over 60% present the most risk.

Specific Care

  •  Move patient to a cool environment.

  •  Remove patient’s clothing. Apply water to the skin to cool the patient.

  •  Apply cold packs to underarms and groin area.

  •  Cold water submersion is an acceptable method for cooling heat stroke patients. You may

    encounter patients in cooling body bags. The goal is to lower temperature to < 102.50F.

  •  If conscious and not vomiting or extremely nauseous, provide oral fluids.
    A  IV fluid 500 ml IV if hypotensive or mental status changes. May repeat x 1.
    P  IV fluid 20 ml/kg IV (max 500) if hypotensive or mental status changes.

  •  ◆ Additional IV fluid, if indicated.

  •  Be prepared for seizures.

  •  Consider other medical conditions (e.g., overdose, hypoglycemia, CVA) and treat accordingly.

  •  Hyperthermia patients should be transported to a Trauma Center.

 

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