by Dr. Anthony Ferrara
We are seeing a number of heat-related illnesses in the clinic with the outdoor temperatures staying between 95 and 100 degrees. Although death from heat stroke is rare, during the Summer, about 175 to 200 people die from heat-related illness each year in the United States. And, if there's a major heat wave, the number of deaths can increase to over 1,500. There are some easy guidelines to follow to stay cool during a heat wave and avoid heat-related illness or catastrophe. Here are some important tips to remember:
1. Schedule physically strenuous activities for cooler times
2. When working outside, take periodic rest breaks in a cool area
3. Relax, slow down, pace yourself – it’s called heat exhaustion for a reason
4. Avoid being outdoors when it’s hot if you can
5. Dress in light, loose, cotton clothing - natural fabrics like cotton are much cooler than most synthetics
6. Use sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher (the most effective products say "broad spectrum" or "UVA/UVB protection" on their labels). You can get painful sunburn even on a cloudy day, so slather on the sunscreen every morning before you start out. Don't forget lips, ears, back of neck.
7. Drink, drink, drink - WATER and Non-Alcoholic drinks!! DON'T wait until you feel thirsty -STAY HYDRATED. In hot weather, as much as 3-4 quarts per day are recommended. Heavy sweating removes salt and minerals from the body. These are necessary for your body and must be replaced.
8. If you must exercise, drink two to four glasses of cool, non-alcoholic fluids each hour. A sports beverage can replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat.
9. Never leave children, pets or anyone inside a car when it is hot outside, even if the windows are open.
10. Stay indoors and, if at all possible, stay in an air-conditioned place. If your home does not have air conditioning, go to the shopping mall or public library—even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat.
11. Keep cool with fans, air conditioning, and cool baths or showers. If outside, spray yourself (especially your scalp and face) with water. Evaporation and ventilation of air over this water on your body will cool you down. Cold compresses on your neck and underarms also help.
Our blistering heat can be unbearable, but it doesn’t have to take you down. Keeping your cool in during a heat wave is critical if you want to stay out of the Doctor’s office and stay healthy this Summer.
See the report from Fox 5 Atlanta.