August 3, 2009

Beating The Heat

Tips From Genesis Medical Center

Each year in the United States, approximately 400 deaths are attributed to excessive natural heat. Many of the deaths are preventable. Genesis Medical Center emergency physician Michael Cronkleton, M.D., offers these tips to avoid being a victim of the heat:

  • Stay out of the heat when possible. The young and old are particularly vulnerable. Also vulnerable are people with other chronic conditions, for example, heart disease, asthma and high blood pressure.
  • If you don’t have air conditioning in your home, visit friends or relatives, go to the library, go to a movie.
  • Eat smaller meals, but eat more frequently.
  • Check on elderly and sick friends and relatives every day during a hot spell.
  • Drink plenty of water, particularly when exercising or working outdoors. One guideline is 8 ounces of water for every 20 minutes of outdoor activity.
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine drinks. Both act as diuretics and speed up the loss of fluid.
  • Make sure children take breaks from outdoor activity. Take a break from outside activity during the hottest part of the day to play games, or watch a movie together inside.
  • Take care of your skin if you are outdoors. Use a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher and wear a wide-brimmed hat.
  • Seek shade or air conditioning if you begin to feel dizzy or nauseous.
  • Seek medical treatment immediately if you are disoriented, have a high body temperature, are vomiting, or have stopped perspiring.

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