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Beat the Heat! - Heat-Related illness Recognition and Prevention

#Summer is here! It’s time to get outside and enjoy all the sun has to offer. The sun is always a pleasant sight in the morning. A beautiful dawn opens up so many possibilities for the day. But, the sun must not be taken for granted. Too much sun can ruin anyone’s day. Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be going over some of the issues the sun may cause and what steps we can take to prepare ourselves to enjoy the summer.

Heat-related illnesses are comprised of 3 conditions, heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heatstroke. Heat cramps are just that, cramping of major muscles, (quads, hamstrings, core, arms), that are stressed in a hot environment. If other symptoms are included, such as light-headedness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, or headache, we’ve taken the next step to heat exhaustion. The most critical and severe condition is heatstroke. Heatstroke is identified by a very high fever (104ºF and up), hot red skin without signs of sweating or stopped sweating, a rapid pulse, and a throbbing headache. Emergency medical intervention must be taken immediately if Heat Stroke is suspected!!

Most at risk of Heat-related illnesses are seniors, children, athletes, and outdoor workers. Try to prevent any of the heat-related illnesses by drinking plenty of fluids, staying away from alcohol and caffeine, wear light clothing and if possible, limit the outdoor time during peak temperature times. If an outdoor activity can not be limited, consider using a balanced electrolyte drink along with water and try to rest in cool, shaded areas whenever possible.

If you are in a situation where you are taking care of someone who may be suffering from heatstroke, immediately call 911, move the person to a cool place, loosen clothing to help air circulate over the body and spray or sponge cool water onto the body to help cool until emergency help arrives.

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