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Beware of Heat Stroke

Submitted by Tammy Moore, DNP, Chief Clinical Officer

As discussed, here are a few questions as to how folks can stay safe and cool this week.

Does Summit Pacific typically see patients come in with heat-related issues when the weather gets this hot?

Mostly a temperate climate, SPMC doesn’t see a ton of heat-related issues, but that does not mean they don’t happen! Patients should be knowledgeable on how heat-related injury can occur and when it’s time to seek help.

Heat-related illnesses can include symptoms that occur when the body’s heat-regulating mechanisms can’t keep up with the heat in the external environment. Though heat-related illnesses occur more often in Summer they can happen any time of the year.

The elderly, young children and those with predisposing medical conditions are all at great risk of illnesses like heat stroke, heat exhaustion and dehydration. Signs of dehydration can start out as very mild and include thirst, decreased urinating and fatigue. More severe signs of dehydration include headache confusion and loss of consciousness.

If you or a loved one are exhibiting severe signs of dehydration or other heat-related illness, seek immediate medical attention.

What are some things people can do to stay cool and safe this week? 

To avoid heat-related illness, stay out of the sun during the hottest parts of the day which include early afternoon to evening. Put off the yard work if you can, but if you must plan to do it early in the morning hours. Save that afternoon run for another day or choose to exercise indoors or at the gym where there is air conditioning.

Hanging out at the river? Make sure you are hydrated and limit alcohol as it’s dehydrating and will impair judgement. If you don’t have air conditioning in the home, keep the curtains or blinds drawn to limit heat inside the house.

Wear loose, light colored clothing if you must be outside and ample sunscreen to avoid burns which will further hamper your body’s heat regulation systems.

Use fans to circulate air, particularly at night when the temperature drops. If your home is too hot, plan a trip to a local library, shopping center or coffee shop where you can rest and find a break from the extreme heat.

If you have family members who are at risk for heat-related illnesses, please reach out to them and ensure they are ok during these rare summer days of extreme heat. Any further questions, talk to your health care provider about ways to stay cool and the signs of heat-related injuries. Stay safe!

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