Eskenazi Health Offers Helpful Tips to Avoid Heat-Related Health Problems
Eskenazi Health emergency physicians share their recommendations on how to stay cool and safe during this dangerous and challenging time.
Heat strokes can be prevented by avoiding long exposure to the sun especially from 10 am to 5 pm, which is the hottest period of the day. Spending too much time in high temperatures and elevated humidity conditions, along with dehydration, may create an extremely dangerous situation.
“Preparation is vitally important in avoiding heat stroke in dangerously hot temperatures, and doing all you can to keep your body’s core temperature at a normal level is always advisable in these dangerous conditions,” said Dr. Tyler Stepsis, medical director of the Michael & Susan Smith Emergency Department at Eskenazi Health. “Whenever you can, be sure to check in with those you know who are elderly, young children and infants who are especially predisposed to having a dangerous reaction leading to heat stroke in conditions with high temperatures and stifling humidity.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) website has some helpful tips to avoid heat stroke and heat exhaustion:
- Drink more water than usual, and don’t wait until you’re thirsty.
- Never leave children or pets in a parked car. Leave your pets plenty of water in shady areas.
- Use sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher and wear light-colored clothing.
- Pace yourself while working or exercising in hot weather.
- If it’s too hot in your home, take a cool bath or shower.
- If you don’t have air conditioning, go to the mall or library, or find a cooling shelter.
- Keep an eye on people more likely to become ill from the heat: babies, young children, and older adults.
- Check your local news for extreme heat alerts and safetytips.
CDC-listed symptoms leading to heat exhaustion include a lack of strength and energy, dizziness, nausea/vomiting, heavy sweating, pale and/or clammy skin, a weak pulse, muscle cramps, and fainting. Heat stroke symptoms include an altered state and any of the following symptoms: throbbing headache, confusion, nausea, dizziness, shallow breathing, body temperature above 103° F, hot, red, dry or moist skin, rapid and strong pulse, fainting and losing consciousness.
If you or someone you are with begins to experience these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately by calling 911. Get to a cool, shaded place, remove unnecessary clothing, cool the body by spraying it with cool water and hydrate.
Dr. Stepsis emphasizes that when you go indoors during the coronavirus pandemic, particularly in a public location, to always wear a mask and continue to observe social distancing. He also wants everyone to remember that hand hygiene remains vitally important.
The Michael & Susan Smith Emergency Department is one of the busiest emergency departments in the state, treating more than 100,000 patients each year. For more information, please visit EskenaziHealth.edu.