Heat Wave Illness- Treatment Protocol
Recognizing the treatment protocols which may vary slightly according to the setting (EMS, health center, clinic, hospital emergency department, etc.), the following should apply generally to any setting and to all patients where there is a potential concern for heat illness. Special thanks to Drs. ArthurYancey and Nee-Kofi Mould-Millman of Grady Emergency Medical Services, Emory University Department of Emergency Medicine, Atlanta, GA USA.
1. Initial patient assessment – primary survey (airway, breathing, circulation, disability, exposure), vital signs, including temperature.
a. Presenting with suggestive symptoms and signs (see table).
i. Extremes of age (infants, elderly)
1. Sympathomimetic drugs
3. Remove from environmental heat exposure and stop physical activity
a. Cool wet towels or ice packs to axillae, groin, and around neck; if patient is stable, may take a cool shower, but evaluate risk of such activity against gain and availability of other cooling measures.
5. If temperature lower than 40°C, repeat assessment every 5 minutes; if improving, attempt to orally hydrate (clear liquids, ORS can be used but not necessary cool liquids better than cold) and observe.