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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Heat in the Place!!

I just came back from lunch to the sanctuary of air conditioning and people let me tell you the sun is SCORCHING hot!!! My goodness, I swear I could not touch my steering when I first got into the car when leaving the car park, it was that hot. All I could think of was Carnival Monday and Tuesday on the road in this heat as it is suffocatingly hot. One of the dangers that most masqueraders are probably unaware of is heat stroke. This is something I witnessed first hand with my girl friend and another guy I know who had to seek medical attention.

After jumping up all day, my friend started complaining of cramps in the afternoon and had to sit on the truck when they got too bad as the sun set. But when we got home she was flushed, nauseous and still getting cramps. We had to cool her down by wetting her in the shower until she felt better. It was only afterwards that we learnt another friend had also suffered from the same symptoms and was rushed to the doctor only to be diagnosed with heat stroke.

So, for every single masquerader, regardless of race or ethnicity here is some information about heat stroke that you should be aware of; none of us are used to exerting so much physical activity in the hot sun, so we are all at risk. And drinking too much alcohol also adds to the dehydration if you do not consume water! Remember to pace yourself when drinking and have some water or even Gatorade in between drinks.

What is heat stroke?

  1. Heat stroke is a form of hyperthermia (abnormally elevated body temperature) with accompanying physical and neurological symptoms. Unlike heat cramps and heat exhaustion, two less-severe forms of hyperthermia, heat stroke is a true medical emergency that can be fatal if not properly and promptly treated.

The body normally generates heat as a result of metabolism, and the body is usually able to dissipate the heat by either radiation of heat through the skin or by evaporation of sweat. However, in extreme heat, high humidity, or vigorous exertion under the sun, the body may not be able to dissipate the heat and the body temperature rises, sometimes up to 106 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. Another cause of heat stroke is dehydration. A dehydrated person may not be able to sweat fast enough to dissipate heat, which causes the body temperature to rise.

The population most susceptible to hear strokes are infants, the elderly (often with associated heart diseases, lung diseases, kidney diseases, or on certain medications that make them vulnerable to heat strokes), and athletes, or outdoor workers physically exerting themselves under the sun.

What are heat stroke symptoms?

Symptoms of heat stroke can sometimes mimic those of heart attack or other conditions. Sometimes a person experiences symptoms of heart exhaustion before progressing to heart strokes. Symptoms of heat exhaustion may include nausea, vomiting, fatigue, weakness, headache, muscle cramps and aches, and dizziness. However some individuals can develop symptoms of heat stroke suddenly and rapidly without warning.

Different people may have different symptoms and signs of heat stroke. But common symptoms and signs of heart stroke include:

* high body temperature
* the absence of sweating, with hot red or flushed dry skin
* rapid pulse
* difficulty breathing
* strange behavior
* hallucinations
* confusion
* agitation
* disorientation
* seizure
* coma

How do you treat a heat stroke victim?

Victims of heat stroke must receive immediate treatment to avoid permanent organ damage. First and foremost, cool the victim.
Get the victim to a shady area, remove clothing, apply cool or tepid water to the skin (for example you may spray the victim with cool water from a garden hose), fan the victim to promote sweating and evaporation, place ice packs under armpits and groins. Monitor body temperature with a thermometer and continue cooling efforts until the body temperature drops to 101-102 degrees. Always notify emergency services (911) immediately. If their arrival is delayed, they can give you further instructions for treatment of the victim.

The most important measures to prevent heat strokes are to avoid becoming dehydrated, and to avoid vigorous physical activities in hot and humid weather. If you have to perform physical activities in hot weather, drink plenty of fluids (such as water and Gatorade), but avoid alcohol, coffee, and tea which may lead to dehydration. Take frequent breaks to hydrate yourself. Wear hats, and light colored, and light and loose clothes.


Bacchanal Village

For those of you looking for a lime on Carnival Monday and Tuesday but either don't want to run the risk of being thrown out of some one's band by security if you "storm" or you simply don't want to be in the crowd and heat, there is a new option being provided by a group of enterprising young people.

The concept is called Bacchanal Village and it is located on the Corner of Stanmore Avenue and Queen's Park West, right where all bands exit crossing the judging point. Patrons of the Village will be provided with covered pavilions, a fully stocked premium bar for drink purchases, food on sale, a cool zone, washrooms, entertainment with suprise guest artistes as well as sponsor giveaways. The idea is to throw one hell of a lime for non masqueraders (though masqueraders are also welcomed to the Village) so that persons in the lime will not feel "left out" of the Carnival experience. Rumor has it masseuses will also be at the Village, I guess for masqueraders needing a foot massage perhaps!

There is a fee attached for this comfort zone however, the price is $60.00TT on Monday and $80.00TT on Tuesday. Patrons will be given an ID band valid for the day which makes the village accessible all day so you are free to go and come as you please.

For more information you can call 620-2677,620-9218,681-2780

Happy Bacchanal Wednesday!

In the midst of all my Carnival preparations, and believe me I am still preparing for the two big days, my girl friend calls me yesterday to ask advice on what she should buy her boyfriend for Valentines Day. Now the poor girl was struggling for ideas, but I was of no help to her since who cares about Valentines Day when it falls smack dab in the middle of Carnival week!? Obviously all the people who are not into Carnival, or those who think that this one day is the be all and end all to show love to the significant other, will most likely be celebrating today with roses, chocolates or dinner at some overcrowded restaurant tonight where they are rushed to eat so the next batch of diners could be seated.

However I am not one of the aforementioned persons; Valentine’s Day will most likely see me carrying my girl friend at the last minute to get her boots organized, making a pit stop at Pennywise for red lipstick and accompanying the hubby in a loving gesture to collect his Warrior Spirit costume!

Don’t think that I am not a romantic person, but really, flowers or a stuffed bear are alien to me at this time. Frankly stuffed bears are alien to me all the time, as I detest stuffed animals, but the point is Valentine’s means something entirely different for a Carnival baby. I would much prefer getting a ticket to a fete, an offer to pay for my Carnival makeup or even cash to pick up the items I am still missing like my sunglasses.

So, I guess I should wish you all a Happy Valentines Day and I hope each of you celebrates in a way that is meaningful and satisfactory to you, however the spirit of the season calls for a different greeting: “Happy Bacchanal Wednesday!”

And for all those without a significant other, who the hell cares!?! It’s Carnival people!!!! Lots of single, ready to mingle, men and women, who have been working out for months now to fit into that costume have landed on our shores. If you are feteing tonight, have fun (and be safe) wherever the night takes you.
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