by Dr. Christopher Notley
After a long winter we all want to be able to enjoy the summer; however short it might be. Whether it is getting outside to work in the garden, playing a sport, or just playing with the kids under the hot sun, we all love to be out in the sun. But during those hot summer days we do run the risk of heat illnesses such as heat stroke and heat exhaustion even if we are not outside. These conditions can be life threatening therefore understanding how to prevent them is important.
To lessen your risk of heat illness, follow these tips:
- Drink plenty of water or a sports drink (if you are restricted salt intake, consult your physician).
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol
- Exercise before 10 am and after 6pm if you can.
- Stay out of the sun at peak hours in the day.
- Wear light coloured, loose fitting, natural fiber clothing.
- Wear a hat or stay under an umbrella.
- Stay out of direct sun light as much as possible.
- Use your air conditioning
- Keep your blinds drawn during the hottest time of the day
- Don’t stay in a closed vehicle.
- Be extra vigilant about avoiding the heat if you are on medications such as, antihistamines, anticonvulsants, thyroid pills, water pills, diet pills, cough and cold medications, irritable bladder or bowel medications, and laxatives.
Signs to watch out for:
- Cessation of sweating
- Skin that feels hot and dry, but not sweaty.
- Rapid heartbeat
- Shortness of breath or trouble breathing.
- Irritability, confusion or unconsciousness
- Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
- Nausea/Frequent vomiting.
- Fainting, which may be the first sign in older adults
- Feeling faint or dizzy
- Heavy sweating
- Rapid, weak heartbeat
- Cool, moist, pale skin
- Low-grade fever
- Heat cramps
- Dark-coloured urine
If you or anyone you know starts to experience these signs get out of the heat and seek medical attention.
www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/heattips.asp – Link is dead
www.familydoctor.org/online/famdocen/home/healthy/firstaid/basics/088.printerview.html – link is dead
www.nia.nih.gov/HealthInformation/Publications/hyperthermia.htm – link is dead
Originally posted 2013-06-19 13:19:54.