Heat-related illnesses are preventable and treatable. Know the symptoms so you and your family are prepared for the summer
The sun’s inviting you to a picnic on the beach, but – with record high temperatures nationwide – awareness for heat-related illnesses is vital. The CDC reports that around 618 people die due to heat exposure in the United States every year and all of these deaths could have been prevented.
What are they?
Ranging from mildly irritating to potentially fatal, heat-related illnesses vary in scope and you may be familiar with some. Sunburn and heat rash are quite common – especially for children and athletes – but can others require medical attention. Heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and especially heatstroke can be extremely dangerous, particularly among infants and the elderly. Each has certain symptoms and remedies but the best way to handle these situations is to take the right precautions and be vigilant to avoid them altogether.
How can you prevent them?
The CDC says it best: Stay cool. Stay hydrated. Stay informed Here are some quick simple tips.
- Stay cool
- Wear appropriate apparel. Loose clothing, sunglasses, hats, and sunscreen are essential.
- Cool down in sheltered areas. Air-conditioning is crucial. Public malls, restaurants, and others are perfect places to seek shelter should you find yourself far from home. If you’re not able to get indoors, find some shade. Showers help, as well.
- NEVER LEAVE CHILDREN IN VEHICLES
- Stay hydrated
- Drink a lot of fluids. Water is great, but don’t forget you need sodium from salt and other nutrients as well, so a sports drink rich in electrolytes can be better. Be extra careful if you have diabetes, sports drinks contain sugar.
- Don’t drink alcohol. Alcohol causes the body to lose fluid.
- Beware cold drinks. Cold beverages have been known to cause cramps.
- Make sure infants, seniors, and furry friends are cool, too. Some children, older folks, and pets may have trouble letting you know they’re thirsty. Keep tabs on them.
- ALWAYS CHECK THE BACK SEAT OF YOUR CAR BEFORE GETTING OUT
- Stay informed
- Check weather alerts and updates. Local news is a great source for finding out if your area is expecting higher than average heat.
- Supervise those at risk. Again, watch over the young, elderly, or any others who suffer from health problems
- KNOW WHERE YOUR CHILDREN ARE
Heat-Related Illness Symptoms and How to Treat Them
Here’s a list of heat-related illnesses, how to spot them, and what to do when they occur.
- Symptoms: Signs range from irritation and warm skin to redness and blistering
- Treatment: Avoid the sun until you heal, take a bath, put on light clothes, moisturize skin, and don’t pop any blisters
- Heat Rash
- Symptoms: Clusters of red blisters that resemble pimples
- Treatment: Stay dry and cool. If necessary, a little aloe-Vera gel, moisturizer, or baby powder is recommended
- Heat Cramps
- Symptoms: Excessive sweating with muscle pain or spasms
- Treatment: Stop all physical activity, relax, and cool down. Drink liquids and wait until symptoms go away before resuming physical activity
- Seek medical attention if you have heart problems, cramps exceed an hour, or you’re on a low sodium diet
- Heat Exhaustion
- Excessive sweating
- Tiredness or weakness
- Cold, clammy skin
- Nausea or vomiting
- Muscle cramps
- Treatment: Loosen your clothes, get to a cool location, take a bath, and get hydrated
- Seek medical help right away if you are vomiting, symptoms last longer than an hour, or symptoms worsen
- Heat Stroke
- Body 103°F or highe
- Hot, red, dry, damp skin
- Nausea or vomiting
- Fast, strong pulse
- Treatment: CALL 911 RIGHT AWAY! Heatstroke can be fatal. Move the person to a cool location and help lower their body temperature with a cold bath or ice. DO NOT GIVE THE PERSON ANYTHING TO DRINK.
If you are local or near the Miami Shores area, need to be seen by a medical provider for a non-life-threatening condition, and its safe for you to make it to our center, come by Medi-Station. We are here for your medical needs.