Clinical Nurse II, Emergency Department
Summer is here! Last week temperatures topped 100 degrees, and it felt even hotter because of the heat index. A high heat index is caused by high humidity, which keeps sweat from evaporating off your skin and prevents your body from cooling down. This puts you at risk for heat-related illnesses, such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke (which can be fatal).
Anyone can experience heat-related illnesses, but some are more susceptible than others. Infants, children and senior citizens have the highest risk. Monitor infants and children closely for signs of heat-related illnesses, and check on elderly adults frequently. If a loved one or friend exhibits the following signs of heat-related illnesses, seek medical attention immediately.
|Warning signs of heat exhaustion
||Warning signs of heat stroke
There are a few simple things you can do to lower your risk of heat-related illnesses.
- Stay hydrated by drinking lots of water, especially if you will be outside for extended periods of time.
- Avoid being outside during the mid- to late afternoon because temperatures are typically highest then.
- Take breaks if you are working outside, and find some shade, rest, drink water and cool off.
- Remember to always wear protective gear, such as hats, sunglasses and sunscreen (SPF 15 or higher is recommended).
- Stay indoors, especially in an air-conditioned space. Fans are helpful for cooling, but when temperatures reach over 90 degrees they offer little protection from heat-related illnesses. If your home is not air conditioned, visit a friend or public location, such as a mall or library, that is air conditioned.
Following these tips will help reduce your risk of heat-related illness and keep your summer enjoyable!