Kevin Lutz, MD, FACP
Jul 1 2024

You don't have to read our blog entries regularly to know summer is here and the heat is on!

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The high temperatures and increased humidity can have serious health consequences. As is usually the case, prevention is the name of the game. The primary goal is to stay cool. Avoid outdoor activities during the hottest times of the day, stay in the shade when outdoors, and use fans and air conditioning to keep indoor temperatures comfortable.

Stay hydrated (with more than just water which does not have any electrolytes). Sport drinks and salty foods are good choices when rehydrating from the heat. Talk with your doctor about that last sentence. Your individual circumstances may require special efforts when rehydrating.

Signs of heat-related illness include:

  • Hot, red skin
  • Excessive perspiration. Cessation of perspiration in the heat is even more serious.
  • Fast pulse
  • Muscle cramps
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Confusion or loss of consciousness

If these symptoms develop, immediately move the affected person to a cooler place and begin lowering their body temperature and hydrating them. Call 911 if you are concerned. 211 is a phone resource to assist with finding cooling centers when opened by local jurisdictions, including location, address, and operating hours.

People at increased risk of heat-related illnesses include those aged 65 years and older, people with chronic medical conditions, those who are pregnant, infants and children, outdoor workers, athletes, and people without access to air conditioning (which may include people experiencing homelessness and low-income households).

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