Preventing heat injuries is the best way to treat them, paramedic says

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 3, 2001

Automotive experts say preventive maintenance is the cheapest and best way to take care of your automobile – and the same goes for your body, according to a paramedic for a local company.

Preventing heat injuries is the first step in treating them, said Joel Plummer, a paramedic with American Medical Response.

&uot;Before anyone plays outdoors, they need to eat a decent meal,&uot;&160;he said. &uot;They need to drink plenty of water to prepare their body.&uot;

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Plummer said many golfers enjoy drinking alcohol while cruising the links – and it’s not a problem if they drink water along with it.

&uot;People like to drink beer while they play,&uot; he said. &uot;That’s not a problem as long as they replenish the water their body uses.

&uot;The more alcohol you consume, the more water your going to lose,&uot;&160;he continued. &uot;If you during with moderation and drink water to replenish your sources, you’ll be OK.&uot;

Other than eating and drinking properly, Plummer said periodic breaks can go a long way toward keeping an outdoorsman safe.

&uot;Just take breaks,&uot; he said. &uot;Sit down on the benches every now and then and don’t push it. If you do that, you can play all day.&uot;

For anyone unlucky enough to fall victim to a heat illness, there are several important and crucial steps to follow, Plummer said.

Anyone suffering from heat exhaustion should be moved quickly to a shady area.

&uot;Leaving someone outside is actually better than bringing them inside,&uot; he said. &uot;You leave them outside – but in the shade – so the breeze can get to them.

Plummer said tight clothes should be loosened and the victim should be made to sip slowly – not drink fast – water to help cool them down.

&uot;Put cool rags under their arms and on top of their head,&uot; he said. &uot;That will help cool them quicker.&uot;

Anyone suffering a heat stroke &uot;will be hot to the touch,&uot; Plummer said.

&uot;In this situation, you want to alert 911 as soon as possible,&uot; he said. &uot;You can slowly cool them by applying cool towels behind the neck and between the legs – anywhere they will lose heat,&uot;&160;he said.