Desoto County News

Best ways to avoid deadly, heat-related illnesses 

With the official launch of summer underway, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare encourages the public to take precautions this summer to prevent heat stroke and heat exhaustion.

Extreme heat kills more people than any other weather-related emergency and some people are at a greater risk than others to suffer from high temperatures. If you have chronic conditions like asthma, COPD, diabetes and heart disease, you should take extra measures to avoid overheating.

“Staying hydrated is probably the most important tip to avoid symptoms of heat exhaustion,” said Regina Goulder, nurse practitioner with Methodist Medical Group. “We should also limit any outdoor activities during mid-day high heat temperatures. Instead, visit a local museum, take in a movie, read a good book or get creative with an inside project.”

Follow the below suggestions to give yourself the best chance to stay healthy and avoid a trip to the emergency room while enjoying the dog days of summer.

  • Hydrate: Grab that cup of water – repeat.
    • Drink at least six to eight cups of water per day. Avoid drinks with added sugars. Limit caffeine and alcohol, which could contribute to dehydration.
  • Plan ahead: Check the forecast for the coolest time of day.
    • Exercise, yard work or other strenuous outdoor activities are best completed during early morning or evening hours when temperatures are lower.
  • Seek shade: Find that shady tree and plant yourself.
    • Shade can make the temperature feel up to 10 degrees cooler than when you are in direct sunlight.
  • Dress to impress… your body’s cooling system: Forget fashion and embrace function with your clothes.
    • Wear loose, lightweight and light-colored clothing to reduce your chance of burning up.

If you suspect any of the following signs or symptoms in yourself or loved ones – seek immediate medical attention.

Warning signs of heat exhaustion, which could lead to heat stroke, include:

  • Muscle cramps
  • Headaches, confusion, fainting or dizziness
  • Excessive sweating
  • Extreme thirst

Symptoms of heat stroke include:

  • No longer sweating
  • A body temperature above 104 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Seizures
  • Headache, dizziness, lightheadedness
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Behavioral changes such as confusion, disorientation and staggering

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