Race fans look forward to the Indianapolis 500 Coors Lite Carb Day as the kickoff to one of the biggest track events of the year. With outdoor activities occurring from early morning until late evening on May 22, Seals Ambulance urges attendees to take precautions against heat-related illness and recognize symptoms.
“During the Indianapolis 500 Carb Day and other outdoor events, many attendees experience dehydration, heat exhaustion, heat stroke and other serious heat-related illnesses,” said Randy Seals, president of Seals Ambulance. “When temperatures reach 80 or 90 degrees, indulging in alcohol is one of the most dangerous things you can do. Staying hydrated by drinking water and regulating your body temperature is critical.”
The Centers for Disease Control reports that an average of 658 deaths occurred in the United States from heat-related illness in the past year. The most serious of heat-related illnesses is heatstroke, which occurs when the body is unable to control its temperature. When heat is excessive, body temperature rises rapidly and cannot decrease on its own. In critical cases, body temperature rises to 106 degrees or higher within 10 to 15 minutes. This can lead to permanent disability, or even death, if emergency treatment is not provided.
To prevent heatstroke, heat exhaustion and other heat-related incidents at outdoor events, Seals Ambulance recommends these safety tips:
- Wear loose-fitting, lightweight clothing
- Rest frequently when outside and seek shade whenever possible
- Avoid exercise or strenuous physical activity during hot or humid weather
- Drink plenty of water
- Limit your alcohol intake
Heat exhaustion symptoms include fatigue, nausea, headache, weakness, confusion, dizziness or fainting. Heat exhaustion is a warning that individuals should rehydrate and seek shelter from the heat and sun. If these precautions are not taken, a patient can progress to heatstroke, the most dangerous form of heat-related illness.
Warning signs of heatstroke vary but may include:
- Extremely high temperature above 103 degrees
- Red, hot and dry skin with no sweating
- Rapid, strong pulse or throbbing headache
- Dizziness and lightheadedness
- Nausea and vomiting
- Confusion or irrational behavior
If you see or experience any symptoms of heatstroke, immediately call 9-1-1. Attempt to cool down the patient by taking him or her to a shady or air-conditioned area and decrease body temperature with cold water or any means possible, such as ice packs or cool water from a garden hose.
Though it seems counterintuitive, do not give the patient any fluids to drink – heatstroke can lead to vomiting or loss of consciousness, and the patient could choke – and monitor the patient’s body temperature until emergency services arrive.
While everyone is at risk for heatstroke, the most susceptible groups are senior citizens and young children. The elderly do not adjust as well to sudden changes in temperature and are more likely to take prescription medicine that impairs the body’s ability to regulate temperature.
About Seals Ambulance
Based in Indianapolis, Seals Ambulance provides emergency and nonemergency transport services to multiple hospital and facility contracts in Central Indiana, as well as emergency 911 service for various regions throughout Indiana. An extensive fleet allows Seals Ambulance to serve a wide area around-the-clock with prompt response time and quality service. Seals Ambulance is the contracted provider for several venues, including Klipsch Music Center and Indiana Downs Horse Track, and is the preferred provider for the Community Health Network, which includes six Community Hospitals and several community medical centers throughout Indianapolis and Anderson, St. Vincent Anderson Regional Hospital and the Indiana University Health Network.
Seals Ambulance is a regional branch of Priority Ambulance, a national ambulance network.