So some of you may have noticed that it is really, really really hot this summer. In fact, the temperature is reaching alarmingly high, record breaking, Bunny melting temperatures all over the place with some areas so hot that it is starting to become, well, how do you say… dangerous! And so…
We thought we should do a quick Bunny Post on the Dangers of Extreme Heat, Heat Related Illnesses and How to Stay Cool!
So first things first! With a little Bunny know how and some basic precautions, heat-related illnesses should be preventable. Although, if you do have friends and neighbors that lack air-conditioning, especially the elderly, the chronically ill and the very young, it might be nice to check on them during extreme heat as they are the most susceptible to heat related illnesses!
And of course, please remember that we are Bunnies and not licensed Human professionals! If you start feeling the symptoms of heat related illnesses please seek medical attention!
So what are the Concerns of Extreme Heat and what should we know about them?
Well, along with extreme heat comes heat-related illnesses. And if a Bunny neglects to pay attention to the signs and symptoms of said illnesses a Bunny could wind up smack in the middle of a medical emergency. And NoBunny wants that!
Heat-related illnesses range from Heatstroke to Heat Rash and we will quickly outline them for you here! Keep in mind that the elderly, the very young and the chronically ill are most at risk in hot, humid weather, particularly of prolonged periods (2-3 days or more).
Heat stroke is the most serious form of heat-related illness. This happens when the body becomes unable to regulate its core temperature allowing it to rise to dangerous levels of 104 F/ 40 C or higher. Once a Bunny reaches this stage, sweating stops and the body can no longer rid itself of excess heat.
BunnyAlert!! Heat stroke is a medical emergency. It can rapidly and permanently damage the brain, heart and vital organs as well as the muscles and the damage worsens the longer the condition is left untreated. This can result in serious medical complications and even death.
AnyBunny with these symptoms should call 911 immediately.
- Body temperature of 140 F/ 40 C or higher
- Altered mental state or behavior such as Slurred Speech, Delirium, Agitation, Confusion…
- Excessive sweating or red, hot, dry skin
- Nausea or vomiting
- Rapid breathing
- Rapid heart rate
- Throbbing Headache
First Aid for Heat Stroke
Call 911 immediately
Immediate Actions to take while waiting:
- Place the Bunny in a shady, cool area, preferably air-conditioned
- Loosen clothing and remove any excess clothing
- Provide fluids (preferably water) as soon as possible
- Cool with any means available
- Wet the Bunny with cool water, place in tub or shower, spray with garden hose…
- Apply ice packs, cool wet towel compresses, or ice to head, neck, armpits, and/or groin area
- Fan air on the Bunny, preferably with applied moisture as it is the evaporation of water from the skin that removes heat from the body
- Stay with the Bunny until first responders arrive
Heat exhaustion is the body’s response to loss of water and salt from heavy sweating. Signs and symptoms can be similar to heat stroke with the exception that the body temperature has yet to reach 104 F/ 40 C. When in doubt, seek medical help.
Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion
- Pale skin
- Heavy sweating
- Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
- Dizziness or light headedness
- Weakness or fatigue
- Rapid heart rate
First Aid for Heat Exhaustion
- Have the Bunny sit or lie down in a cool, shady area, preferably air-conditioned
- Give the Bunny plenty of water to drink
- Cool the Bunny with cold compresses or ice packs
- Take the Bunny to a clinic or the emergency room for medical evaluation or treatment if signs or symptoms worsen or do not improve within 60 minutes.
Heat Cramps are caused by the loss of body salts and fluid during sweating. Tired muscles are usually the ones most affected by cramps.
Symptoms of Heat Cramps
- Muscle spasms
- Pain usually in abdomen, arms, or legs
First Aid for Heat Cramps
- Have the Bunny rest in shady, cool area
- Give the Bunny plenty of water to drink
- Wait a few hours before allowing the Bunny to return to activity
- Seek medical attention if cramps persist
Heat Rash, also known as prickly heat, is skin irritation caused by sweat that does not evaporate from the skin.
Symptoms of Heat Rash
- Clusters of red bumps on the skin
- Often appears on neck, upper chest, folds of skin
First Aid for Heat Rash
- Remain in cooler, less humid environment whenever possible
- Keep the affected area dry
Exertional Heat Stroke
Exertional Heatstroke is the result of a rise in body temperature caused by excessive or intense physical activity in hot weather.
If you truly must exercise or work during extreme heat, try having a look at this article first!
Heat and exercise: Keeping cool in hot weather http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/exercise/art-20048167
Some boring but important Risk Factors include:
Age: this is primarily has to do with the central nervous system! In the very young, the CNS is not fully developed so they may be at risk. In adults over 65, CNS begins to deteriorate. Both of these age groups also have difficulty remaining hydrated which doesn’t help either.
Sudden exposure to heat: It takes several weeks of exposure to higher temperatures for the body to become acclimated to heat. This is why a sudden, early summer heatwave or travel to a hotter climate can put a Bunny at risk for heat related illness.
Lack of air conditioning: the best way to lower both heat and humidity is with air-conditioning.
Certain medications can effect the body’s ability to respond to heat and/or stay hydrated. Some of these include certain blood pressure medications, diuretics, antidepressants, antipsychotics, vasoconstrictors, stimulants, and illegal stimulants like cocaine and amphetamines (which you probably shouldn’t be taking anyway!)
Certain health conditions and chronic illnesses like heart or lung disease, obesity, those that at excessively sedentary and those with a history of heatstroke.
Preventing Heat Related Illness
So now that we know all about the signs, symptoms and first aid for heat related illnesses, what can we to do to prevent them?
- Wear loose fitting and light weight clothing. Excess and tight fitting clothing can interfere with proper cooling.
- Always protect against sunburn which affects the body’s ability to cool itself! Bunnies recommend broad rimmed hats, sunglasses and SPF of at least 30 or higher for their Human friends especially when they are going to be exposed to direct sunlight.
- Water Water Water! Water not only keeps you hydrated, it also helps you sweat and thus maintain a safe and healthy body temperature.
- Avoid drinks containing alcohol, caffeine and excessive amounts of sugar. These can actually inhibit the body’s ability to absorb water.
- Never leave anyone in parked car! When parked in the sun, the temperature in a car can rise 20 F/ 6.7 C in just 10 minutes. Still, it is not safe to leave anyBunny in a parked car in warm or hot weather, even if the windows are cracked or the car is in shade. When your car is parked, always keep it locked to prevent a young Bunny from getting inside.
- Take it easy during the hottest parts of the day. If you can’t avoid strenuous activity in hot weather, drink fluids and rest frequently in a cool area. Try to schedule exercise or physical labor for cooler parts of the day, such as early morning or evening. The sun is at it’s strongest from 10:00 am until 2:00 pm.
- Get acclimated. Limit time spent working or exercising in heat until you’re conditioned to it. People who are not used to hot weather are especially susceptible to heat-related illness. It can take several weeks for your body to adjust to hot weather.
- Be cautious if you’re at increased risk. If you take medications or have a condition that increases your risk of heat-related problems, avoid the heat and act quickly if you notice symptoms of overheating. If you do participate in a strenuous sporting event or activity in hot weather, make sure there are medical services available in case of a heat emergency.
Bunny Alert!!! Pet Paws are No Different than Bare Feet!
Do Not Walk Your Pet on the Asphalt in the Middle of the Day. It’s Best to Stay in the Grass and always Feel How HOT the Pavement is Before having your Pet Walk on it!
So what is the take away for a lovely but hot summer day? Let’s take a quiz!
Ok, so it isn’t actually going to have an answer key. But you can answer for yourself in your head. If you have any doubt about the proper answer, you might need to reread the article. The appropriate answers will be either Good Idea or Bad Idea.
- Take turns Playing Merry-Go_Round in the Microwave. _______
- Wear excess clothing that prevents sweat from easily evaporating and cooling the body. ________
- Eat Light: fresh fruit, vegetables and cold salads. _______ (Dense meals high in calories and proteins cause the body’s metabolism and temperature rise in order to digest them.)
- Become dehydrated by not consuming enough water to replenish what is lost through sweating. _______
- Seek out shade or air conditioning. _______ (If you don’t have ac at home, try the mall, a movie theater or public library. This is best done in the middle of the day when temperatures are their hottest!)
- Spray your skin with a misting bottle and stand in front of a fan. _______ (The skin cools as sweat/water evaporates off of it, therefore, a fan or breeze will be most effective at lowering body temperature when the skin is wet!)
- Put a damp towel in the freezer. _______ (This is only effective if you then take it out of the freezer and place it on yourself or another bunny.)
- Play slip n slide. _______ (Yes, this is a good idea, but try to set it up in the shade and not in the middle of the day!)
- Find a place with a nice breeze like near the water. _______
- Build a bon fire to make smores. _______
- Take a cool shower or bath. _______
- Drink a nice cool glass of water. _______ (In extreme cases sports drinks can help replace salts lost in sweating. But they generally aren’t necessary as most Humans get more than sufficient salt intake through their diet! Water, however, is key.)
- Wear loose fitting light colored clothing _______ (Dark colors absorb more light and heat while lighter colors reflect it away helping you stay cool.)
- Drink tons of sugary drinks, caffeine and alcohol! _______
- Play in the freezer section at the local grocery. _______
- Bake carrot cake in the middle of the day. _______
- Eat Spicy Food. _______ (Good Idea! Eating spicy food actually does help you cool down! The trick is that spicy foods enhance circulation and cause you to sweat!)
- Make the parasol a thing again! The more shade the better! ________
- Walk your pet on the asphalt at noon. ________
- Make homemade, fresh carrot juice popsicles. _______
Bunny Scout 1178 has PHD in Bunny Nursing with an emphasis on Critical Care. She is also a scout for Ben in Texas.
The Bunny in the Bush is an Easter Story for Children that combines the origins of the Easter Bunny with a fun new Family Tradition that teaches values and encourages independent and creative thinking as you prepare to celebrate the Easter season!
To Purchase Your Copy Click Here!