Chat with the Fire Chief: Stay Safe in the Summer Heat

Marshfield, WI (OnFocus) Summer in Wisconsin means sun, warm weather, and outside activities. During these months it’s important to stay hydrated and recognize the symptoms of heat-related illness.

There are three stages the body will go through when it overheats: heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and the most severe, a heat stroke.

With heat cramps, “You will start to get cramping in your legs and other parts of your body, so stop what you’re doing, drink some fluids, massage the area, and usually you’re pretty good to go,” said Marshfield Fire and Rescue Chief Scott Owen.

With heat exhaustion, the body will sweat profusely. “You’ll want to stop what you’re doing, get into a cooler environment if you can, even get out the sun and under some shade, drink some fluids, and cool yourself off by fanning yourself,” he said. “Putting ice packs under your armpits and in the groin area will help cool your body.”

The third and most serious is a heat stroke. “Your body’s defense mechanism of sweating is not adequate, and you will stop sweating,” said Owen. Heat strokes are life threatening, and left untreated, can cause death.

Signs of heat stroke include dizziness, hallucinations, and troubles breathing. “Get out of the hot environment and into a cool one, but you don’t want to cool your body down too fast,” he said.

Owen also reminds people to hydrate while out in the hot sun. However, soda or drinks that contain a lot of sugar are not suggested. Water and Gatorade-type drinks are encouraged to better replenish what you sweat out.

Those experiencing issues from a heat-related illness shouldn’t hesitate to call emergency services or if preferred, to stop into Urgent Care or the emergency room for treatment.