Monthly Archives: August 2013

  • Preventing and Treating Heat Exhaustion, Heat Stroke, and Related Illnesses

    collage showing an iron foundry, a desert, and a house fire

    The dangerous effects of unusually high temperatures on the human body fall into three types: Heat Cramps, Heat Exhaustion, and Heat Stroke. For some, such as outdoor sports enthusiasts, construction or road crews, farmers, ranchers, etc., the heat may come from the sun. For others, industrial settings such as steel mills, bakeries, boiler rooms, laundries, mines, and factories may be the heat source. Extreme heat also results from burning buildings or wildfires which affect both firefighters and residents. All are at risk.

    Heat cramps are muscle spasms caused by the loss of salt and potassium through heavy perspiration. Often the lost water gets replaced, but the necessary minerals (potassium and sodium) do not. Cramps may affect the legs, arms, or stomach.

    • Cramping may occur while the person is still engaged in strenuous activity—such as athletes who collapse with cramps while competing, or the cramps may suddenly occur several hours later when they are relaxing or sleeping.
    • Although painful and temporarily debilitating, cramps do not usually result in permanent damage. Treatment options include gently massaging the affected muscle, manipulating the limb, and trying to stand on cramping legs.
    • To prevent cramps, drink both water and electrolyte solutions (sports drinks) during the day and eat more potassium-rich foods like bananas; orange juice; avocado; nuts and seeds; dried apricots, prunes, dates, and raisins; baked potatoes; and dark chocolate.


    Heat Exhaustion is more serious than cramping and happens when the body’s internal cooling system becomes overworked but hasn't completely shut down. Surface blood vessels and capillaries which normally enlarge to cool the blood actually collapse from loss of fluids and minerals.

    Heat Exhaustion occurs when you don’t drink enough fluids to replace what you’ve lost. This is especially easy to do in hot, dry, and breezy/windy conditions; you may not be aware of how much you’re perspiring because the sweat evaporates so quickly.  Symptoms include:

    • Headache
    • Increased perspiration
    • Intense thirst
    • Dizziness
    • Fatigue
    • Loss of coordination
    • Nausea
    • Hyperventilation
    • Tingling in the hands and feet
    • Cool and moist skin
    • Impaired judgment
    • Loss of appetite
    • Weak and rapid pulse (120-200 beats per minute)
    • Anxiety
    • Below-normal blood pressure

    Treatment of heat exhaustion includes moving the affected person to a cooler place—into the shade or an air-conditioned building—and having him lie down with feet slightly elevated. Loosen their clothing, apply cool, wet cloths, and fan them. Have them sip sports drinks or water. Have them checked by medical personnel. They should avoid strenuous activity for at least a day and drink plenty of liquids.

    brunette woman drinking water from a bottle on a warm day


    Heat stroke is a life-threatening condition with a high death-rate which occurs when the body has completely depleted its supply of water and salt, raising the core temperature to deadly levels.

    The victim may progress to this dangerous condition through the stages of heat cramps and heat exhaustion, but not always. Sometimes the onset is sudden, especially if the heat is extreme. Heat stroke is often mistaken for a heart attack, especially in the workplace. Know the symptoms of heat stroke and check for them anytime a person collapses in a hot environment.

    • A high body temperature (103° F or higher)
    • Absence of perspiration
    • Hot, red, dry skin
    • Rapid pulse
    • Difficulty breathing
    • Constricted pupils
    • Any signs of extreme heat exhaustion—dizziness, nausea, confusion, slurred speech, bizarre behavior, collapse
    • Hallucinations
    • Loss of consciousness
    • High blood pressure 
    • Sudden spiking of the temperature to 108° F
    • Seizure or convulsions
    • Death

    Seconds count in saving the person’s life. If you suspect heat stroke, act immediately to reduce the victim’s core temperature and get them rehydrated.

    • Call 9-1-1 right away
    • Pour water on the victim
    • Loosen or saturate their  clothing
    • Fan them
    • Get them to a cooler place (like the shade under a tree or pavilion)
    • Apply cold packs

    trees shading a nice, grassy area



    •  If you know you’re going to be working or playing in extremely hot temperatures, condition yourself ahead of time by starting slowly and building up to more strenuous levels of activity. Allow a few days for your body to adjust.
    • Drink a little more than you think you need; don’t wait until you feel thirsty!
    • Use both water and sports drinks, consuming about one cup of liquid every 15-20 minutes in very hot conditions.
    • Avoid alcohol or caffeinated beverages like coffee, tea, or soda pop. Caffeine contributes to dehydration. Alcohol is a diuretic as well—and the symptoms of a hangover are actually those of dehydration. If you use any of these beverages, compensate for them by drinking additional water.
    •  Do not consume huge amounts of water (or any liquid) all at once in an effort to rehydrate your body—you can overload your kidneys and cause more problems than you’re solving. Drink slowly.
    • If you begin to feel faint or develop a headache, take a break, drink some water, and cool off before getting back to your activity.
    • Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing, take advantage of fans and air-conditioners, and get plenty of sleep. Try to perform your most strenuous and difficult tasks during the coolest hours of the day.
    • People who are over 65, overweight, have high blood pressure or heart disease, or are taking diuretics are the most vulnerable to heat-stress conditions, but no one is immune.
    • Pregnant women, especially during the first trimester, should not have a core temperature higher than 102.2° F for extended periods, as there is a risk for malformations in the developing fetus. A perpetual core temperature above 100.4° F. in both males and females is associated with temporary infertility.


    HEAT SYNCOPE is fainting or extreme lightheadedness that usually occurs with prolonged standing or suddenly rising from a sitting or lying position in hot conditions. This happens because blood pools in the extremities rather than returning to the heart to be pumped to the brain. Contributing factors include dehydration and lack of acclimation to the conditions. Treatment is to sit or lie down, then slowly drink water, clear juice, or a sports beverage. After recovery, moving around will help to prevent a recurrence.


    HEAT RASH, or “prickly heat,” is a skin irritation characterized by clusters of red pimples or small blisters on the neck, upper chest, in the groin area, under the breasts, and in elbow or knee creases. Gently cleanse the affected area, pat dry, and allow to “air out.” Use dusting powder to increase comfort. If possible, try to move to a cooler, drier area.


    Knowing a few basics about the prevention and treatment of heat-stress conditions can prevent a lot of discomfort, illness, and even—in the most extreme cases—death. Use the knowledge you've gained here and your common sense to keep safe and hydrated when working or playing in the heat. Stay cool!
















    Posted In: First Aid and Sanitation, Insight, Uncategorized Tagged With: extreme heat, First Aid

  • The (Nearly) Lost Art of Bread Making

    |1 COMMENT(S)


    Assortment of Breads

    What could smell more appetizing than the fragrance of baking bread?

    It conjures memories of visits to Grandma’s house or our favorite bakery, but to the novice, the prospect of making bread seems daunting. This fear of not having your bread turn out as perfectly as Grandma's is what has made bread making a (nearly) lost art. Actually, with a few tips, it isn’t difficult—and it’s immensely rewarding! Using a bread mixer can expedite the process, but you can also make excellent bread by hand. If you’re interested in a high-quality mixer, consider the “Bosch Universal Mixer.” Otherwise, you will need a large mixing bowl, a sturdy spoon, measuring cups and spoons, several loaf pans, and a non-stick surface on which to knead the bread (a pastry sheet, parchment paper, an oiled baking sheet or a clean, floured countertop should work).


    Whole Wheat Bread


    7-8 cups of wheat flour freshly ground if possible, medium-texture. If you’re nervous about using all whole wheat at first you may substitute 2-3 cups of white flour for the same amount of whole wheat.

    1/3 cup granulated lecithin or 3-4 Tablespoons of dough enhancer. (Our Provident Pantry Dough Enhancer helps make fluffier and stronger dough with great flavor and less of a tendency to be dry and crumbly when baked. It also adds to the shelf-life of the finished bread. This product is a blend of natural ingredients, not chemicals.)

    1/3 cup oil (canola is preferred)

    1/3 cup honey, molasses, or sugar

    1 tablespoon salt

    3 tablespoons yeast You may want to test your yeast before mixing to be sure it’s live and viable. In a large (4-cup) measuring cup, combine 1 cup of warm (not hot) water and 3 tablespoons of yeast. Wait about ten minutes and if the yeast has grown and puffed up to the top of the cup it will definitely leaven your bread.



    In large mixing bowl combine 3 cups warm water, lecithin OR dough enhancer, oil, honey, molasses, OR sugar, and salt. (Mix with an electric mixer if you have one.)

    Stir in 5 cups of flour and mix until moistened, using a spoon if it gets too thick.  Let this mixture rest for a few minutes.

    Add yeast and water from measuring cup and mix well.

    Add about 1 ½ cups more flour, stirring until dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl, adding small amounts of flour at a time until that happens. (You don’t want your dough to be too stiff or the bread will be dry.  The dough should be about the consistency of soft chewed bubble gum—stretchy and pliable.)

    Oil your hands well and turn the dough out onto an oiled or floured surface. Knead gently with heels of your hands, then fold dough over and punch to get rid of air bubbles—this may take 8 to 10 minutes until the dough is satiny and holds together.

    With oiled hands, divide dough and form into balls that fill about 2/3 of the greased loaf pans you are using without topping the rim. You don’t have to pat down the dough—it will expand to fill the pan as it rises and bakes. Rising times are approximate, depending upon temperature and humidity in your kitchen. If it’s a cool day, you can place your bread to rise on the top rack of an unheated oven with a pan of very warm water on the lower rack. 80 degrees is the perfect temperature for dough to rise.

    At this point, if you’d like to make some dinner rolls you can form them as you desire:  Three small balls placed in the cup of a greased muffin tin will give a cloverleaf shape. A ball formed with an oiled ice-cream scoop will give a round dinner-roll shape. If your menu includes hamburger buns, roll part of your dough out on a floured surface about ¾ inch thick, and use a round cutter (a large jar lid will work) to cut the buns out. (Buns can be topped with sesame or poppy seeds or sautéed onion bits if desired.)  Carefully move dinner rolls or buns to an oiled baking sheet and set that plus your loaf pans on a double-thickness of towels in a warm, level place. Cover with another towel. Allow the dough to rise for at least 45 minutes or until it has doubled in bulk. Bake as follows:

    Bread:  approximately 45 minutes at 350 degrees

    Dinner rolls:  12-15 minutes at 400 degrees

    Hamburger buns:  20-25 minutes at 375 degrees

    Check your bread about halfway through baking time to see if the top is browning too quickly.  If it is, cover with a piece of aluminum foil to slow that down. When bread should be done, tap the top crust—if it gives a “hollow” sound your bread is done.

    Turn bread out onto racks to cool immediately as allowing them to cool in the pan will cause a “steaming” effect of the crust. Bread may be sliced as soon as it is cool enough to handle.  Prepare to enjoy!


    Storing your bread:  Completely cooled bread should be wrapped in foil or plastic.  Do not refrigerate unless you know you can’t use the bread within a few days. Bread can be frozen. Wrap well and freeze for up to 3 months. Unbaked dough can also be frozen successfully for up to 3 or 4 weeks.

    Yummy variations: 

    Cinnamon Rolls

    Roll half the dough out on a nonstick surface in a rectangular shape about ½ inch thick.  Spread with softened butter or margarine and sprinkle generously with cinnamon and sugar.  Add raisins or nuts if desired.  Beginning at one end of the rectangle roll the dough into a cylinder shape, then cut into slices about ¾ inch thick.  Allow to rise till double in bulk, and bake 18-20 minutes at 375 degrees. Frost as desired.  (Do not freeze frosted rolls—frost them once they’re thawed.)

    Orange Rolls

    Hold the cinnamon, nuts, and raisins, and instead add a sprinkle of orange zest (finely-grated orange peel) to the buttered, sugared rectangle of dough. Roll, cut and let rise and bake like cinnamon rolls. Frost with a powdered sugar/orange juice glaze.

    Dilly Bread

    Use half white and half whole-wheat flour, ¼ cup honey or sugar, and add 1 beaten egg, 3/4 cup cottage cheese, ½ tsp. baking soda, 1 tablespoon dried minced onion and 1 Tablespoon dill weed (and/or dill seed, if preferred) to the first mix of ingredients as you prepare your dough. After dough is kneaded, allow it to rise in an oiled bowl until double in bulk, then punch down and knead again.  Form into 2 large balls and place each in an oiled round casserole dish. Allow to rise again for about 40 minutes then brush with melted butter and sprinkle with salt. Bake at 375 degrees for 50-60 minutes.  This bread smells heavenly baking and is delicious with cheese, pot roast or ham—or just buttered for a snack or treat.






    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Food Storage Tips, wheat, recipes, food storage

  • First Aid for Burns

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    Do you know how to provide First Aid for burns? Many burn injuries occur in the home while doing everyday tasks like laundry or cooking a meal. Those everyday, run-of-the-mill moments can turn into dangerous situations with life-long effects, as demonstrated in the story below:

    When the wires in her family's laundry room overheated, setting her home on fire, Hayley Dabbs of Eden, North Carolina began her journey as a burn survivor at the age of three. Now 19 years old, as she grew older, Hayley became increasingly self-conscious about the burn scars that covered 80% of her body.

    Recently, Hayley’s story went viral on Facebook: “after years of hiding from herself and the world, she became tired of missing out on life.” Her inspiring message of hope for those suffering from self-image issues challenged those living with burn injuries to not let their injuries dictate their lives. Read more of Hayley’s story.


    Recognizing and Treating Different Burns

    If you find yourself in one of these situations, how can you help to reduce the life-altering effects of a serious burn? Knowing how to identify and treat different types of burns can be the difference between permanent damage and an infection-free and (relatively) fast recovery. There are various degrees and types of burns. Each has their own set of symptoms and best treatment methods. Learn what to look for so you know how to treat burns properly, whether on yourself or someone else.


    Girl having her arm wrapped in gauze

    1st degree burn (also called superficial burn)

    First degree burns are the least serious because only the outer layer of skin is burned. They usually take about 3 to 6 days to heal. Common 1st degree burns are sunburns or burns from hot drinks. Symptoms include:

    • Red Skin
    • Swelling
    • Pain

    Usually these more superficial burns do not require medical attention from a doctor. To treat a first degree burn you should:

    • Hold the burn under cool running water for several minutes
    • Cover the burn with a sterile, non-stick bandage to avoid infection, depending on the severity of the burn.
    • Give the victim an aspirin or pain reliever
    • Soothe the area with a burn cream like [BurnFree]


    2nd degree burn (also called partial-thickness burn)

    A second degree burn occurs when the first and second layers of skin are burned. Its symptoms include:

    • Blisters
    • Severe Pain and swelling
    • Skin has a red and blotchy appearance

    Depending on the severity of the second degree burn, the National Safety Council suggests that if the burn is no larger than 3 inches in diameter, treat it as a minor/first degree burn.

    If the burn is larger than 3 inches in diameter:

    • Seek medical attention
    • Soak the burn in cool water for 15 minutes. If the burn is on the back or chest, gently pour cool water over it using a bucket or container.
    • If the burn is minor and small (but larger than 3 inches in diameter), place a cool, wet cloth or compress on the burn for at least 5 minutes.
    • If the burn is severe (we’re talking tons of blisters, redness, and swelling) keep soaking the burn in cool water until you can get to a doctor.
    • If the burn is extensive you can put cool, wet compresses on the burn, but do not put cloth directly on the wound. Cloth fibers will attach to it, making the pain worse—especially when the doctor has to rip it off to treat the wound. For tips on how to wrap the wound and apply a cool compress, check out [familyeducation.com.]
    • Do not break blisters or try to remove clothing stuck to the burn. Get to a doctor who can more effectively (and gently… and safely) remove melted-on or charred clothing.
    • Give the victim a pain killer or Ibuprofen (if they are an adult). Inform medical personnel which pain killer was given, how much, and at what time.
    • University of Maryland Medical Center also suggests elevating the burn above the heart.


    3rd degree burn (also called full-thickness burn)

    A third-degree burn occurs when all layers of the skin are burned and cause permanent damage to the skin, tissue, muscle, or even the bone. Its symptoms include:

    • Charred skin on the burn site
    • Skin may appear dry and white
    • Difficulty breathing (if smoke inhalation accompanies burn)

    No ifs, ands, or buts about it—get this person to a doctor!

    • If they are on fire, have them stop, drop, and roll—or help them extinguish the fire by smothering it with a blanket.
    • Call 911.
    • Check that the victim is breathing. If necessary, use CPR to re-start circulation and breathing.
    • Continue to check vital signs (pulse, rate of breathing, blood pressure) until the ambulance arrives.
    • New York Time’s Health section suggests that you should take these steps to prevent shock:
      • Lay the person flat; elevate the feet about 12 inches.
      • Cover the person with a coat or blanket.
      • However, do NOT place the person in this shock position if a head, neck, back, or leg injury is suspected or if it makes the person uncomfortable.


    What Other Types of Burns are there? How can I treat them?

    Many times when we think of a burn, we just think of fire or sunburns. But there are several other types of burns that you can experience. Here are some tips for how to treat two of the most common:

    Chemical burn:

    • Find out what chemical caused the burn.
    • Call 9-1-1.
    • Move the victim away from fumes of the chemical or ventilate the area.
    • Flush the area with running water for twenty minutes, wrap with a sterile bandage until Medical assistance arrives.
    • DO NOT remove any clothing before you begin flushing the area.
    • If the chemical burn is in the eyes or mouth:
      • Call 9-1-1 immediately.
      • Flush the burn until the ambulance arrives or you can get medical attention.

    Electrical burn:

    • Make sure the victim is away from electrical source and that the current is not running through them still before you touch them.
    • Turn off the source of the electrical current if you can do so safely and quickly.
    • Check for breathing and administer CPR if needed.
    • Treat for shock.
    • Cover the affected area with a sterile bandage.
    • Seek medical attention.


    What should you NEVER do when treating a burn?

    According to the National Safety Council:

    • Never remove any clothing that is stuck to the burnt skin, wrap in a sterile dressing or clean sheet.
    • Do not soak large burn injuries in water—it may cause shock; use cool, wet compresses instead.
    • Never use ice on a burn.
    • Don’t put oils, butters, or ointments on severe second and third degree burns. Doing so may cause skin to fall off and increase chances of infection to the area.
    • Never pop blisters.


    Burn injuries can have devastating effects. It is important to learn first aid for burns--the techniques you'll master will help minimize those negative effects and help the victim to recover successfully.

















    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: burn care, emergency preparedness, First Aid, skills

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