The sun is out and we are enjoying the nice long days of summer. With temperatures already in the 90s and continuing to rise, the excessive heat can also bring along the risk of heat-related illness. Emergency medicine physician and Palmetto Health’s medical director of Emergency Management, Steve Shelton, M.D., offers tips on how to handle the heat and protect yourself and your loved ones.
While no one is immune to the summer heat, several groups are at increased risk of heat injuries including:
Shelton says, “Once you reach a point of thirst, you are already dehydrated.” He says that dehydration can lead to heat exhaustion, which is a heat-related illness.
Use these tips to prevent a heat-induced illness:
Shelton offers these warning signs of heat exhaustion:
If you or someone around you is suffering from heat exhaustion, there are a few things you can do to help. Shelton says, “Begin treating the person by taking them inside for some air conditioning or put them in the shade, remove any clothing you are able to remove, hydrate them with water or a sports drink.” He recommends that you monitor them closely and if their symptoms persist after one hour to seek medical attention.
Shelton adds, “Heat exhaustion can progress into a heat stroke.” He says many of the symptoms are the same symptoms as heat exhaustion except skin will be dry. He also says that the worst of the heat stroke symptoms are confusion and an altered mental state and says these individuals need to seek immediate medical attention.
For more information about Palmetto Health, visit PalmettoHealth.org.