When preventing heat illnesses, there are only three steps to keep in mind, according to the CDC- Stay Cool. Stay Hydrated. Stay Informed. If left untreated, heat exhaustion or heat rash can develop into heatstroke, which can be fatal. Not all heat-related illnesses need medical attention, but it’s important to know the warning signs. Learn more about preventing heat-related illnesses with AFC Urgent Care Short Hills and visit our center for more information.
Your body needs to rest from the heat outside by relaxing in air conditioning for a few hours. If your home doesn’t have AC, visit a local public center to help cool your body down before returning back to the heat. Wearing loose-fitting clothing that wicks moisture can also help to prevent heat exhaustion.
When scheduling outdoor activities, try to avoid the middle of the day. The sun is its hottest between 10 AM and 3 PM every day, so doing yardwork or outdoor exercises early in the morning or at dusk can help avoid heat exhaustion. Be sure to wear sunscreen no matter what when going outside. Even if it is for 20 minutes, UV rays can damage the skin and cause sunburn, which can lead to skin cancer later in life.
Water is important no matter what day it is or the time of year. Hydration is imperative in the summer, however. If you are more active throughout the day, drink more water to make up for the lost hydration. Avoid alcohol or caffeine as these can dehydrate you. Sports drinks or other drinks high in electrolytes can help to replace lost salts and minerals in your system, as well as hydrate you.
Check your local weather before spending a lot of time outside to be aware of the overall humidity and heat index. It’s also essential to be conscious of those who are considered high risk. The elderly, infants, those with immunocompromising illnesses, those who are overweight, or anyone with heart disease or high blood pressure are regarded as high risk.
Symptoms of heat-related illnesses include skin that is red, hot, or damp, a fast, weak or strong pulse, heavy sweating, headache, nausea, or confusion. Heat exhaustion can be reversed without medical attention by moving the person to a cold environment and lowering their body temperature. Heatstroke, however, is a serious condition and should be treated by an emergency facility right away. Do not submerge anyone in cold water, as this can send the body into shock.