As temperatures rise, so do heat-related illnesses such as dehydration and heat stroke.
Dr. Cynthia Brownfield of Mosaic Life Care said the best way to avoid heat-related illnesses is by taking steps to prevent them.
“Whenever you’re thinking about being out in the heat, prevention is key,” Brownfield said. “You have to remember almost every single person first thing in the morning you do is you get up and you go to the bathroom. So you need to replace that fluid to prevent going out, sweating, and becoming dehydrated.”
The type of physical activity you’re doing outdoors will determine how often you need to drink fluids.
“It’s really important to hydrate before you go out to your activity. Athletes or our high school kids who are doing sports should have be hydrating every 20 minutes depending on the circumstances,” Brownfield said. “Most people only need to hydrate with water or a low-carbohydrate, low-sugar, no-caffeine beverage.”
There are signs to look for if someone is experiencing a heat-related illness, which can happen to anyone of any age.
“Symptoms of heat-related illness - usually you start with just profusely sweating, you may start feeling hot, start getting a little lightheaded, stomach cramps, nauseated,” Brownfield said. “As it progresses, you may actually stop sweating, have a severe headache, a lot of stomach cramps and your body temperature starts raising until high dangerous temperatures.”
If you do experience these symptoms, get out of the sun into a shady place.
“If you’re starting to get sick from a heat-related illness, you have to get out of sun and try to cool off,” Brownfield said. “You can take a cool shower and drink plenty of water as long as somebody’s still conscious. If somebody’s unconscious, then you need to call 911 immediately.”
It’s also important to not leave anyone in the car in extreme heat.
“There is no safe situation in these type of temperatures to leave a person, a child or a pet in a car right now,” Brownfield said. “Even if you think you’re leaving the windows down and it’s fine, it’s not safe. Heat-related illnesses are the No. 1 cause of death above all other weather catastrophes.”
For more safety tips on how to stay cool and healthy this summer, visit www.weather.gov/safety/heat.