• rafters paddling through whitewater

    Gauley River

    National Recreation Area West Virginia

Heat Related Illness

hydration

When spending the day in the sun it is important to protect yourself from sunburn, dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.

Sunburn

Prevention:
• Wear high protection sunscreen on all exposed skin and reapply every 3 hours.
• Stay hydrated and keep your body cool.

Dehydration
Dehydration occurs when the amount of water leaving the body is greater than the amount coming in.

Symptoms:
• Thirsty
• Dry mouth
• Sweating may stop
• Muscle cramps
• Nausea and vomiting
• Lightheadedness

Prevention and treatment:
• Keep your body hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
• Keep rehydrating.
• It is important to hydrate before hitting the trail, as well as keeping hydrated throughout the day.
• Drink enough to produce light yellow or almost clear urine throughout the day.

Heat exhaustion
Heat exhaustion occurs due to water and electrolyte loss due to sweating.

Symptoms:
• Heavy sweating
• Pale, clammy skin
• Nausea and vomiting
• Fatigue
• Weakness, dizziness, and fainting
• Headache
• Muscle cramps and aches
• Rapid Pulse
• Pale skin
• Low blood pressure

Prevention:
• Avoid becoming dehydrated and avoid vigorous physical activities in hot and humid weather.
• Keep rehydrating your body.
• Wear light colored, lightweight, and loose clothing.
• Avoid alcohol and caffeine when exercising in the heat

Treatment:
• Cool victim down and have them rest in the shade
• Drink plenty of water or electrolyte drink
• Monitor victims temperature
• If vomiting occurs, seek immediate medical assistance

Heat Stroke
Heat stroke is a true medical emergency that can be fatal if not properly and promptly treated. It occurs when undertaking heavy exertion in hot weather.

Symptoms:
• Headache
• Drowsiness
• High body temperature
• Rapid pulse
• Not sweating with hot red or flushed dry skin
• Difficulty breathing
• Strange behavior; decreased mental status, confusion, or disorientation
• Irritability
• Shock
• Convulsions or seizure
• Sudden collapse

Prevention:
• Avoid becoming dehydrated and avoid vigorous physical activities in hot and humid weather.
• Keep rehydrating your body.
• Wear light colored, lightweight, and loose clothing.
• Avoid alcohol and caffeine when exercising in the heat

Treatment:
• Contact emergency services
• Move victim to a shady place and cool down by bathing or sponging with cool water
• Apply cool water and place icepacks on the neck, abdomen, armpits, and groin
• Monitor victims temperature

Did You Know?

Ferry boat on Gauley River at Carnifex Ferry

The first ferries along the Gauley were canoes the Native Americans left at river's edge for self transportation. Later settlers near these spots made improvements such as larger boats, log rafts and flatboats powered by heavy side-sweep oars.