It’s summer, in the middle of the day and it’s hot. You’re out at the beach checking out the girls in bikinis, when all of a sudden your buddy standing next to you tells you that he’s not feeling so well, right before he stumbles and faints. What do you do?
First thing you do is quit telling him to get up and stop being a wuss. He can’t hear you. Secondly, tell the nearest person with a cell phone to call 911 and then come back and tell you what the operator said. This is important because listening to the operator will tell you what to do next, if the operator can’t tell you what to do next or the guy who called hung up after telling the operator where to send paramedics, here are some rules to follow:
1. DON’T move him. If he’s in or near the water, move him far enough away so that he won’t drown.
2. Check his breathing. Is he breathing okay? Does he sound like he’s been running or that he just got punched in the stomach? If he’s breathing normally, you’re okay and you don’t have to open his mouth to check if anything is blocking his air way. If he’s breathing like he just got hit by a 300 pound linebacker, open his mouth and check to see if there is anything blocking his airway. If there is, reach in and remove the blockage.
3. Is your buddy’s skin hot to the touch? If so then if you’ve got a cooler near by, dump the ice in to three towels and lay the towels over each arm pit and his groin. Yes, I know it causes shrinkage, but you’ll end up saving his life if he’s in the middle of a heat stroke or heat exhaustion.
Here are some of the symptoms of heat exhaustion. So if your pal is:
- sweating profusely
- has weakness in his limbs
- has a sudden headache
- is nauseous or vomiting
- and/or has muscle cramps
get your pal in to the shade of an umbrella and get him drinking water as quickly as possible. Re-hydration and Keeping your pal calm and cool are key to recovering from heat exhaustion. If he can’t seem to shake any of these symptoms or they get worse, it is time to think about taking your pal to the ER to get checked out.
Here are the symptoms of heat stroke:
- High body temperature
- Absence of sweating with hot red or flushed skin
- rapid pulse
- difficulty breathing
- strange behavior
- seizure and/or
While heat exhaustion is treatable without the paramedics up to a certain point, Heat stroke requires a trip to the hospital. Don’t be stupid and brush it off, both of these are potentially a life risking event.
4. Check his body for marks of any kind that look red, swollen or puffy. Why? Well there’s a possibility that if if wasn’t heat exhaustion or a heat stroke, he might have had an allergic reaction to a jelly fish sting or he might have gotten bitten by something else that has an allergic reaction. If you’ve got a pen, mark these for the paramedics. If no pen, just let them know what you’ve found.
5. If he stops breathing and you know CPR, start it right away. The sooner you start, the better his chances of survival. If you don’t know CPR, follow these instructions:
- Put your hands together, one on top of the other and make a fist, palms down.
- Place your hands in the center of his chest, between his nipples and start pushing down.
- DON’T PUSH DOWN TOO FAR! About an inch will do nicely to keep the air flowing in to his lungs.
- Keep the compressions going until paramedics arrive and you’re told to stop.
6. If the paramedics have arrived by now, Tell them everything you’ve done to ensure your pal’s survival. Leave nothing out, even if you’ve smacked his cheek to wake him up.
That takes care of the beach. What about the pool? Well that’s where things change, but only slightly. You’ve got a lot more help when you’re at a pool in a hotel or in your own backyard. Paramedics can find you faster when you’re in either place. So, here are some tips for the pool after you’ve called 911:
1. Remove the person from the water if that’s where they fainted. If they fainted on the side of the pool, move them farther away from the water
2. Start checking them over for injuries, if their breathing is labored check his mouth for any blockage and remove it if there is any.
3. Remember the heat exhaustion/heat stroke from earlier? Yep, check them for it again. Ice? You’ve got those fancy drinks that have ice plus an ice machine. At home? You’ve got an ice maker, don’t you? The next step is the same as before. Three towels over the arm pits and the groin.
4. What’d the man/woman eat? Did you know if they had any allergies? Now would be a good time to start talking to the friends of the person who fainted to see if it had been an allergic reaction.
5. You remember the CPR? Yep, if he/she isn’t breathing anymore start CPR or chest compressions.
6. The paramedics have probably arrived by now so give them all the info you’ve collected and tell them everything you’ve done.
So hopefully what you’ll take away from this article will keep you and your friends safe in the event of a beach/pool emergency.
Facts come from the Mayo Clinic website and the Medicinenet site.