Genesis Offers Tips Helping Illinois And Iowa Folks Deal With Extreme Heat
Tuesday’s Quad-City weather forecast calls for temperatures to reach 99-degrees. Here are some tips on weathering the extreme heat which is blanketing the Midwest.
Each year in the United States, more than 600 deaths are attributed to excessive natural heat. Unfortunately, many of the deaths are preventable.
Genesis Medical Center emergency physician David Dierks, D.O., 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. People with other chronic conditions, for example, heart disease, mental health conditions, asthma, and high blood pressure, are also at higher risk for heat illnesses.
- Make sure you don’t leave small children or pets in a vehicle. Temperatures can rise quickly to fatal ranges. One tip is to put something vital to your day in the back seat with a child, including a phone, a shoe, or work materials. Newer vehicles now have warnings about checking the back seats.
- Check on elderly and sick friends, neighbors and relatives several times a day during a hot spell.
- Eat smaller meals, but eat more frequently.
- Drink plenty of water, particularly when exercising or working outdoors. One guideline is 8 ounces of water for every 20 minutes of outdoor activity.
- 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 sweating.
- When possible, complete outdoor work either early or late in the day.
- Take a phone if you go out to walk, jog, or bike ride. Then, if you get into trouble, call for help.
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine drinks. Both act as diuretics and speed up the loss of fluid.
- Make sure children take breaks from outdoor activities. Take a break from outside activity during the hottest part of the day. Go inside to play games or watch a movie with family/friends.
- Take care of your skin if you are outdoors. Use sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher and wear a wide-brimmed hat. Reapply sunscreen frequently, especially if you are swimming.
What to Watch For
Symptoms of heat exhaustion include cool, moist, pale, or flushed skin; heavy sweating; headache; nausea or vomiting; dizziness; and exhaustion. Body temperature may be normal or is likely to be rising.
Symptoms of heat stroke include hot, red skin; changes in consciousness; rapid, weak pulse; and rapid, shallow breathing. Body temperature can be 105 degrees F or higher. If the ill person is sweating from heavy work or exercise, the skin may be wet; otherwise, it will feel dry.