Doom and Bloom: Heat-Related Emergencies

The Altons at Doom and Bloom Medical have a post up on Heat-Related Emergencies for the summer heat.

  • noaa heat index chart

    Summer is here with a vengeance and parts of the Midwest and Southern U.S. are experiencing record high temperatures in major heat waves. Officials predict a high-risk situation for 200 million citizens as places as far north as Buffalo, NY hit 90 degrees Fahrenheit for a week straight, while Pheonix, Arizona will have multiple days in the 110s. The air temperature in Death Valley, California may reach as high as 125 degrees.

    Even in places where the air temperature isn’t as high, the “heat index” is surpassing the 90s, 100s, and the 110s. The heat index is a measure of the effects of air temperature combined with high humidity.  Above 60% relative humidity, loss of heat by perspiration is impaired and exposure to full sun increases the reported heat index by as much as 10-15 degrees F. All this increases the chances of heat-related illness such as heat stroke and heat exhaustion.

    In the next few weeks, we can expect the power grid to be challenged by tens of millions of air conditioning units set on “high”. Major health issues may arise if the electricity goes out and people have to fight the heat with hand fans, like they did in the “good old days”.

    HEAT ISLANDS

    graph of temperatures from urban to rural

    Things are even worse in the city. Buildings and roads replace open land and vegetation. Concrete and asphalt surfaces in the sun become much hotter than air temperature, resulting in a “heat island” effect in large populated areas. Rural areas are more moist and cool, leading to less heat-related emergencies.

    Another factor may increase the risk of heat-related emergencies. Homes without air conditioning will not only become sweatboxes, but many people cooped up in closed environments are a recipe to increase the number of COVID-19 cases (so much for the summer giving us a break from the pandemic).

    HEAT WAVES ARE NATURAL DISASTERS

    man,it’s hot!

    You might not consider a heat wave to be a natural disaster, but it most certainly is. Heat waves can cause mass casualties, as it did in Europe when tens of thousands died of exposure (not in the Middle Ages, but in 2003). India, Pakistan, and other underdeveloped tropical countries experience thousands of heat-related deaths yearly.

    HOW HEAT KILLS

    So how exactly does heat kill a person? Your body core regulates its temperature for optimal organ function. When core body temperature rises excessively (known as “hyperthermia”), inflammation occurs, cells die, and toxins leak. Fatalities can occur very quickly without rapid intervention. Even with modern technology, hyperthermia carries a 10% death rate, mostly in the elderly and infirm. Those who are physically fit, however, are not immune.

    HEAT EXHAUSTION AND HEAT STROKE

    The ill effects due to overheating are called “heat exhaustion” if mild to moderate; if severe, these effects are referred to as “heat stroke”. Heat exhaustion usually does not result in permanent damage, but heat stroke does; indeed, it can permanently disable or even kill its victim.  It’s a medical emergency that must be diagnosed and treated promptly.

    Simply having muscle cramps or a fainting spell doesn’t necessarily signify an imminent heat-related medical emergency. You will see “heat cramps” often in children that have been running around on a hot day.  Getting them out of the sun, massaging the affected muscles, and providing hydration will usually resolve the problem.

    Heat exhaustion’s signs and symptoms include:

    • Confusion
    • Rapid pulse
    • Profuse sweating
    • Flushing
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Headache
    • Temperature elevation up to 105 degrees F

    If no action is taken to cool the victim, they could easily progress to heat stroke. In addition to all the possible signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion, heat stroke will manifest as loss of consciousness, seizures or even bleeding (seen in the urine or vomit).  Breathing becomes rapid and shallow. Shock and organ malfunction may ensue, possibly leading to death.

    heat exhaustion (left) vs heat stroke (right)

    In heat stroke, the skin is likely to be red and hot to the touch, but dry; sweating might be absent.  Once the body core hits 105 degrees or more (it varies from person to person), thermoregulation breaks down and the body’s ability to use sweating as a natural temperature regulator fails. In heat stroke, the body core can rise as high as 110 degrees Fahrenheit or more.

    (Aside: The highest body temperature ever recorded was 115 degrees: On July 10, 1980, 52-year-old heatstroke victim Willie Jones of Atlanta was admitted to the hospital with a temperature of 115 degrees Fahrenheit. He spent 24 days in the hospital and recovered.)

    In some circumstances, the victim’s skin may actually seem cool. Despite feeling “clammy” to the touch, it’s important to realize that it is the body core temperature that’s elevated. You could be misled unless you take readings with a thermometer to reveal the patient’s true status.

    Avoid giving fluids unless the victim is awake and fully oriented

    When overheated patients are no longer able to cool themselves, it is up to their rescuers to do the job. If hyperthermia is suspected, the victim should immediately:

    • Be removed from the heat source (for example, out of the sun).
    • Have their clothing removed.
    • Be drenched in cool water (with ice, if available)
    • Have their legs elevated above the level of their heart (the shock position)
    • Be fanned or otherwise ventilated to help with heat evaporation
    • Have moist cold compresses placed in the neck, armpit and groin areas

    Why the neck, armpit and groin? Major blood vessels pass close to the skin in these areas, and cold packs will more efficiently cool the body core. Recent studies by the military suggest that cold packs to feet and hands are also helpful.

    Oral rehydration is useful to replace fluids lost, but only if the patient is awake and alert. If your patient has altered mental status, he or she might “swallow” the fluid into their airways; this is known as “aspiration” and causes damage to the lungs.

    Heat stroke is preventable in many cases. The Arizona department of health recommends the following:

    • Drink at least 2 liters (about a half-gallon) of water per day if you are mostly indoors and 1 to 2 additional liters for every hour of outdoor time. Drink before you feel thirsty, and avoid alcohol and caffeine.
    • Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing and use a sun hat or an umbrella to deflect the sun’s rays. Use sunscreen if available.
    • Eat smaller, more frequent meals instead of large ones.
    • Avoid strenuous activity.
    • Stay indoors as much as possible.
    • Take regular breaks if you exert yourself on warm days.

    In a heat wave, it’s important to check on the elderly, the very young, and the infirm regularly and often. These people have more difficulty seeking help, and you might just save a life if you’re vigilant. You can bet there’ll be more than one heat wave this summer, so know the warning signs and how to help those with hyperthermia.

Doom and Bloom: Heat Wave Safety

The Altons at Doom and Bloom Medical have an article up — Heat Wave Safety — on the dangers of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Once on an early morning march during AIT at Ft. Benning, I saw a young soldier collapse from heat stroke. He was rushed off in the back of a truck with a drill sergeant performing CPR. I wish that I or someone else would have noticed the signs before it became so serious.

Summer is here and the Midwest and East is experiencing record high temperatures in a major heat wave. Officials predicted a high-risk situation as the heat index surpasses heat indexes in 90s and 100s, and in some case, the 110s. Close to 200 million people might be affected in 32 states, according to the U.S. weather service.

The “heat index”, by the way, is a measure of the effects of air temperature combined with high humidity.  Above 60% relative humidity, loss of heat by perspiration is impaired exposure to full sun increases the reported heat index by as much as 10-15 degrees F. All this increases the chances of heat-related illness.

We can expect the power grid to be challenged by tens of millions of air conditioning units set on “high”, and we can expect to see some major health issues if the electricity goes out and people have to fight the heat with hand fans, like they did in the “good old days”.

You might not consider a heat wave to be a natural disaster, but it most certainly is. Heat waves can cause mass casualties, as it did in Europe when tens of thousands died of exposure (not in the Middle Ages, but in 2003). They’ve already experienced one bad one this year and are predicted to have another in the near future. India, Pakistan, and other underdeveloped tropical countries experience thousands of heat-related deaths yearly.

So how exactly does heat kill a person? Your body core regulates its temperature for optimal organ function. When core body temperature rises excessively (known as “hyperthermia”), toxins leak, inflammation occurs, and cells die. Fatalities can occur very quickly without intervention, even in those who are physically fit. Even in modern times, hyperthermia carries a 10% death rate, mostly in the elderly and infirm.

 

Click here to read the entire article at Doom and Bloom.

AYWTGS: 10 Kits to Put Together Today

Karen at A Year Without the Grocery Store has had to bug out three times, twice for riots and once for a tornado. She has enough to say about preparedness that she’s written a book and started a website. In the article, 10 Kits to Put Together Today to Be Ready for Tomorrow she talks about a variety of kits to have prepared so that you aren’t spending precious time rummaging around trying to find a light or cook stove.

1.) Where is the closest flashlight to you at this moment?

2.) Do you have an air filtration mask and could you put your hand on it in two minutes or less?

3.) What items do you have to keep your house cool and where do you keep them?

4.) If you had to remove stitches yourself, do you have the tools to do it?

5.) What’s your secondary method of communication?  Is it charged and ready?

So how did you do on the quiz?  Obviously, there’s no right or wrong answer.  The bigger question is  – could you answer each question.

Each of these things above is integral to preparedness.  Sometimes, we have these things – which is HUGE!  If you just have these things – high five!

More often than not though, if we have these things, we don’t know where they are.  So how do we organize things so that we KNOW that we KNOW where things are?

We develop kits!

Each kit is self-contained and is kept in tote.  For larger items, I keep them in large totes from Costco.  For smaller kits, I keep them in smaller totes which fit in the large Costco totes.   So what kinds of kits should we be putting together?  I’m going to be giving you a list of 11 kits.  I’m going to give you an overview here, but I’ll be doing a post on each of these so I can dive deeper.

Now there is one very well known kit that I am not including in this and it’s called a Bug out Bag or Grab and Go Bag or many other things.  A Bug Out Bag is for leaving the area, and we’ll cover that at some time.  These kits are all about what you are ready for at home.  So we’ll jump right in with kit #1.

Click here to read the entire article at A Year Without the Grocery Store.

Selco: How to Stay Warm During a Long-Term SHTF Situation

The Organic Prepper website has posted an interview with Selco — a survivor of the Balkan war, who has written extensively on survival topics — about staying warm in long term survival crises.

How did people stay warm? 

We can say that first step was that people simply “shrunk“ their living space.

For example, if a family of people had a house with six rooms they simply stopped using four rooms, and they lived in two rooms only, because of a simple reason – it was easier to heat two rooms only.

To get wood for heating was a hard process and often dangerous, so how much fuel you spent in your home was a matter of staying alive. 

Old style wood stove with a smoke-exhaust-pipe (that would be put through the hole in the wall to outside- if a chimney-exhaust system was not existing in that room.

Comfort was completely forgotten because of necessity. 

Also people insulate their homes with what they had. A majority of windows were crushed (glass) because of detonations (shelling), so people blocked window openings with what they had.

Blanket, pillows, nylons, and tarps were used for that. Also, duct tape was a very useful item. 

Homes were kinda rearranged in order to make it more energy efficient in very rudimenrtary ways. For example, if a house had smoke exhaust just in the kitchen but that kitchen was not good for having wood stove there, then simply stove was moved from that kitchen into the desired room. A hole was made in that room (for smoke exhaust) and the stove was put there.

You need to understand that homes (houses, apatments) when SHTF were very fast to deteriorate. There was no service to call, remember. Leaks from the roofs, freezing temperatures… all that makes your house quite problematic to live in. We were trying to fix what we could, but insulation was problematic very quickly. A lot of problems could have easily been solved with simple items like insulation foam (in spray containers) for example, but nobody was prepared for SHTF. (Yes, I have it now)…

Click here to continue reading at The Organic Prepper

Heat Danger

With temperatures expected to rise to between 101 to 109 degrees this week, it is a good time to remind readers of how to recognize heat related illnesses and how to react to them.  From the CDC:

Heat-related illness

What to look for

What to do

Heat stroke

  • High body temperature (103°F or higher)
  • Hot, red, dry, or damp skin
  • Fast, strong pulse
  • Headache
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Nausea
  • Feeling confused
  • Losing consciousness (passing out)

 

  • Call 911 right away- heat stroke is a medical emergency
  • Move the person to a cooler place
  • Help lower the person’s temperature with cool cloths or a cool bath
  • Do not give the person anything to drink

 

Heat exhaustion

  • Heavy sweating
  • Cold, pale, and clammy skin
  • Fast, weak pulse
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Muscle cramps
  • Feeling tired or weak
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Headache
  • Fainting (passing out)

 

  • Move to a cool place
  • Loosen your clothes
  • Put cool, wet cloths on your body or take a cool bath
  • Sip water

 

Get medical help right away if:

  • You are throwing up
  • Your symptoms get worse
  • Your symptoms last longer than 1 hour

Heat cramps

  • Heavy sweating during intense exercise
  • Muscle pain or spasms
  • Stop physical activity and move to a cool place
  • Drink water or a sports drink
  • Wait for cramps to go away before you do any more physical activity

 

Get medical help right away if:

  • Cramps last longer than 1 hour
  • You’re on a low-sodium diet
  • You have heart problems

Sunburn

  • Painful, red, and warm skin
  • Blisters on the skin

 

  • Stay out of the sun until your sunburn heals
  • Put cool cloths on sunburned areas or take a cool bath
  • Put moisturizing lotion on sunburned areas
  • Do not break blisters

Heat rash

Red clusters of small blisters that look like pimples on the skin (usually on the neck, chest, groin, or in elbow creases)
  • Stay in a cool, dry place
  • Keep the rash dry
  • Use powder (like baby powder) to soothe the rash

Stay cool. Stay hydrated.

Related: Two Die From Heat in Franklin County After Becoming Dehydrated