A spokeswoman for the local charity said: “Recognising the signs and knowing how to treat heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heatstroke can be crucial to help people take care of themselves and others, as well as avoiding trips to the hospital during one of the island’s most celebrated holidays.”
She also noted that heat-related conditions occur when a person’s body is not able to compensate for the heat and properly cool itself.
“The body normally cools itself by sweating but when the humidity is high, sweat will not evaporate as quickly which prevents the body from releasing heat as quickly.
“Young children and the elderly are particularly susceptible to high temperatures. Other risk factors include dehydration, obesity, heart disease, prescription drug use and alcohol use.
“The two most serious problems that can occur with extreme heat are heat exhaustion and heatstroke but knowing the signs and symptoms and what steps to take could be the difference between a life saved and a life lost in an emergency situation,” she added.
Heat exhaustion, which causes the body to lose both salt and water, can be caused by excessive sweating.
Without treatment, it can progress to heatstroke, which can damage the brain and other organs and lead to death.
Signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion include nausea or vomiting, dizziness, profuse sweating, pale and clammy skin, feeling faint, loss of appetite, fatigue, a rapid, weak pulse and shallow breathing.
Whenever someone experiences heat exhaustion, they should stop all activity and rest in a shady or air-conditioned area to cool off and remove any extra layers of clothing.
Ice packs should also be placed on the neck, armpits and groin areas while rehydrating with water or a sports drink with electrolytes.
If symptoms don’t improve, call 911, the spokeswoman added.
She also noted that heatstroke is a more serious condition, with symptoms including throbbing headache, dizziness, nausea, confusion, red, hot and dry skin with a lack of sweating, a rapid, strong pulse and loss of consciousness.
Ultimately, she said heatstroke can be deadly or cause permanent disability.
During the course of the Cup Match holiday weekend, she urged members of the public to keep an eye out for dehydration.
Symptoms include: lightheadedness, headaches, dry mouth, eyes and lips, muscle cramps and passing small amounts of dark coloured urine.
Anyone suffering dehydration should drink plenty of water or other non-alcoholic drinks, rest and cool down.
“Stay alert and know the signs – if untreated, someone with dehydration can develop heat exhaustion so it’s important to rehydrate as soon as possible,” the spokeswoman added.
St John Ambulance volunteers will be out over the Cup Match holiday weekend to assist the public, but not without your help.
On that note, they urge the Bermuda public to do their part by checking in on elderly relatives and neighbours and to take extra care to look after themselves by staying out of the sun or covering up, wearing sunblock and drinking plenty of water.
For more information visit www.sjabermuda.org.