Whoever thought that having a parade for costumed characters during the hottest part of the summer was a great idea, they certainly didn’t ask the characters in full armor. Often costume rookies are excited to get their first parade under their belt. I was one of these folks last year that didn’t think about what I had signed up for until the last moment and didn’t take the hydration suggestions as seriously as I should have. This can be either a very fun experience or a dangerous one with heat exhaustion & stroke as a very serious concern.
<< Risk Factors for Heat Exhaustion
Heat exhaustion is strongly related to the heat index, which is a measurement of how hot you feel when the effects of relative humidity and air temperature are combined. A relative humidity of 60% or more hampers sweat evaporation, which hinders your body’s ability to cool itself.
The most common signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion include:
- Dark-colored urine (a sign of dehydration)
- Muscle or abdominal cramps
- Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
- Pale skin
- Profuse sweating
- Rapid heartbeat
Treatment for Heat Exhaustion
If you, or anyone else, has symptoms of heat exhaustion, it’s essential to immediately get out of the heat and rest, preferably in an air-conditioned room. If you can’t get inside, try to find the nearest cool and shady place.
Other recommended strategies include:
- Drink plenty of fluid (avoid caffeine and alcohol).
- Remove any tight or unnecessary clothing.
- Take a cool shower, bath, or sponge bath.
- Apply other cooling measures such as fans or ice towels. >>
If heat exhaustion is ignored, it can progress into HEAT STROKE which is DEADLY
<<Symptoms of Heat Stroke
The hallmark symptom of heat stroke is a core body temperature above 105 degrees Fahrenheit. But fainting may be the first sign.
Other symptoms may include:
- Throbbing headache
- Dizziness and light-headedness
- Lack of sweating despite the heat
- Red, hot, and dry skin
- Muscle weakness or cramps
- Nausea and vomiting
- Rapid heartbeat, which may be either strong or weak
- Rapid, shallow breathing
- Behavioral changes such as confusion, disorientation, or staggering
Heat stroke is the most serious form of heat injury and is considered a medical emergency. If you suspect that someone has heat stroke — also known as sunstroke — call 911 immediately and give first aid until paramedics arrive. >>
Now that I’ve put the fear of the Dark Side into you with regards to the heat & humidity, there are very simple ways to be prepared for what can be one of the most rewarding troops you may ever participate in.
Prepare ahead of time!
- Drink plenty of water ahead of time! If you haven’t started yet, you are late. Start now by adding an extra glass of water to your daily diet.
- Avoid or limit alcohol the night before and caffeine the morning of the parade. Both of these will dehydrate you.
- You can also take an electrolyte pill before the parade. Most major drugstores will have these readily available and this will help you get minerals that help you avoid cramps and dehydration without excess water that may just pass through your system.
- Make sure to visit the bathroom just before the parade starts, you won’t be able to go once the parade starts!
- Once the parade is over, don’t forget to continue hydrating! Drink water, gatorade or even pedialyte.
Hopefully the information provided will help you have a safe, fun troop!