Chill Out: Help When the Heat Hits
Summer can bring some blistering temperatures that make it hard to keep your cool. UR Medicine Urgent Care's Dr. Michael Kamali shares ideas for beating the heat and offers advice for when it impacts your health.
We all need to take care in extreme heat, but it can be particularly dangerous for some, including the elderly, infants and children, and those with chronic medical conditions. This information may help you prepare for hot weather and take action if you see signs of heat-related illness.
Be a weather watcher. Keep an eye on the forecast when you’re making plans. Watch for extreme heat warnings and seek out air-conditioned buildings to help keep cool throughout the day.
Limit outdoor activities, especially midday when the temperature is usually the hottest. Try to stay in the shade and out of direct sunlight, and wear loose, light-weight, light-colored clothing.
Keep hydrated. Drink more water than usual, even when you aren’t thirsty. If you’re working or exercising in the heat, drink two to four cups of water every hour. Avoid sugary drinks and alcoholic beverages, which may work against your efforts to stay hydrated.
Cool off. Go for a swim or find some air-conditioned entertainment—like going to a movie or walking the mall—to get a break from the heat.
Know the signs and symptoms of heat-related sickness and how to respond.
- Heat exhaustion is serious but often can be treated at home. Signs may include heavy sweating, weakness, skin that is cold, pale and clammy, weak pulse, fainting, and vomiting. Move to a cooler location, lie down and loosen your clothing, apply cool, wet cloths to your body, and sip water. If vomiting persists, seek medical help immediately.
- Heat stroke is a medical emergency marked by high body temperature (above 103°F); hot, red, dry or moist skin; rapid and strong pulse; and possible unconsciousness. If these symptoms occur, call 911 right away. In the meantime, follow the steps above to cool the person down, but avoid giving them water.
Michael Kamali, M.D., is chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at URMC. UR Medicine Urgent Care has convenient locations in Pittsford, Penfield, Henrietta, Greece, Spencerport, Farmington and Newark.