Overheating is a common problem for many people affected with ichthyosis as they can’t sweat normally particularly Lamellar Ichthyosis. Though they have sweat glands, the thickness of their skin and the scale does not allow sweat to reach the surface of their skin and cool them effectively. So they are at risk for overheating, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke in very hot and humid weather.
Strategies for avoiding heat emergencies:
- Avoid physical activities and outdoor activities at the hottest parts of the day, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
- If possible, look for air-conditioned spaces during the hottest part of the day. If you cannot be in air-conditioning, use a fan to keep air circulating around you, stay out of the sun, and rest.
- Drink lots of fluids. Avoid caffeine and alcohol, which can be dehydrating.
- Use a pool, wading pool, lawn sprinkler, bathtub, or shower for frequent cooling dips.
- Wear a wide brimmed hat and sun protective full sleeved clothing when you do need to be outdoors. Loose natural fiber clothing in light colors will help you feel cooler than dark, tight-fitting, synthetic fiber clothes.
- Use cool packs, cooling scarves or other cooling products, and spray bottles of ice water to cool down.
Early Symptoms of a Heat Emergency
- Muscle cramps
- Feeling weak and light-headed
Late Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion
- Cool, pale skin
- Large pupils
- Nausea and vomiting
- Irrational behavior
Symptoms of Heat Stroke
- Dry, hot and very red skin
- Dark urine
- Extreme confusion
- Rapid, shallow breathing
- Rapid, weak pulse
- Small pupils
First Aid for Heat Emergencies
- Remove person from the heat to a cool place where they can lie down with their feet elevated about 12 inches.
- Apply cool wet cloths (or cool water directly) to the person’s skin and use a fan to help the water to evaporate and lower their temperature. Place cold compresses on the neck, groin and armpits. Do not use alcohol rub.
- Give the person cool water to sip, fruit juice or slightly salted water (1 teaspoon salt per quart of water). Give ½ cup every 15 minutes. Do not give salt tablets, alcohol or caffeine.
- Seek medical help immediately if the person shows signs of shock (bluish lips and fingernails, and decreased alertness), has a seizure, or loses consciousness.