Cool Down with Hot Summer First-Aid
When the temperature tops 90 and the soles of your shoes sizzle on the sidewalk, cold therapy is a necessity for summer first-aid. Whether it is ice from your freezer, a bag of frozen vegetables or a convenient commercial cold pack, ice therapy has many more uses than treating bumps and bruises.
Here are five summer first-aid tips for cold therapy:
Chill heat-related illnesses.
During the hot summer months, heat exhaustion and heat stroke can be a problem. Symptoms of exhaustion can include dizziness, weakness, a feeling of nausea, excessive sweating and a shallow, quick pulse. With more serious heat stroke, the skin is hot and dry, and mental confusion can occur along with a loss of consciousness. Cold packs can be used to keep the body cool in excessive temperatures, helping to prevent heat exhaustion. Many athletes cool down after a summer event with an icy cold pack on the back of their necks. If symptoms are present, ice packs along with hydration can be used to lower the body temperature to a safe level. Always seek medical attention in the case of heat stroke as this condition can be sudden and deadly.
Ice bug bites.
Letís face it, insect bites are a nuisance, causing swelling, itching and sometimes pain. Icing a bite immediately will keep the bug poison from spreading to other parts of the body, reduce swelling and inflammation, and numb the area, lessening the need to itch. Use ice therapy on mosquito, bee, spider, fire ant and centipede bites. If an allergic reaction happens or it is a serious bite, such as from the poisonous Brown Recluse Spider, immediately seek medical help.
Keep pets cool.
Even pets can suffer in the summer heat. Keeping them cool can be tricky. An ice pack wrapped in a towel or beneath a thin blanket might do the trick if they decide to snooze on top of it. Ice cubes are a cool treat that some animals enjoy. There are also commercial products made specifically for horses to ice their legs down after a ride. Special caution should be taken to never use a product containing toxins or one that might easily break, endangering a pet if they decide it would be more fun to play with the ice pack than lay on it.
Cool a Burn.
Getting too much sun or being careless around an outside grill can result in summer burns. For minor first degree burns caused by brief contact with a hot object, water or steam, and sunburn, cool the skin by first holding it under running water, then apply a cold pack to numb the pain. If blistering occurs (second or third degree burns) seek medical help.
Cold treatment for night sweats.
Hot summer evenings can mean intense night sweats for menopausal women. A great natural approach to cooling off when awakened by a wave of heat is to tuck a cold pack into the pillowcase so that it lies at the crook of the neck. Within a few minutes, the heat wave will subside, allowing for a restful nightís sleep.
Make sure you have at least one or two cold packs in your freezer for summer first-aid. Chill out and be prepared!
Disclaimer: This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical treatment or consultation. Always consult with your physician in the event of a serious injury.
Louise Roach is the editor of on-line health and fitness newsletter, NewsFlash*SnowPack. She has been instrumental in the development of SnowPack, a patented cold therapy that exhibits the same qualities as ice. Her injury prevention and treatment articles have been published on health and fitness websites. For more information visit http://www.snowpackusa.com or NewsFlash*SnowPack at http://home.netcom.com/~newsflash/