Page 16

Inmotion_Jul_Aug_2014

the doctor is in 16 inMotion Volume 24, Issue 4 July | August 2014 GGlobal warming aside, with summer coming on, it is time to talk about heat and heat-related illnesses. There are numerous heat-related illnesses, ranging from a minor heat rash (little red bumps) to heat cramps to heat syncope (fainting) to the more severe conditions of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Heat stroke is a life-threatening condition, defined as a core temperature above 104° F. Left untreated, it can cause damage to your brain, heart, kidneys and muscles. The longer treatment is delayed, the worse these injuries can become, increasing your risk of serious complications or death. Heat exhaustion is the stage just prior to heat stroke and it is very common in conditions where temperatures reach close to 100° F and the humidity is high. Recognizing and treating the symptoms at this stage can prevent the more serious consequences of full-blown heat stroke. Heat exhaustion is caused by exposure to high temperatures, particularly when combined with high humidity, and strenuous physical activity. (The old adage that it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity, is wrong – it’s both.) Signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion may develop suddenly or over time, especially with prolonged periods of exercise. The symptoms include cool, moist skin with goose bumps when in the heat, heavy sweating, fainting, dizziness, fatigue, weak, rapid pulse, low blood pressure when you stand up, muscle cramps, nausea and headaches. Heat exhaustion is a failure of your body to maintain an acceptable core temperature. Your core temperature is the body’s heat combined with environmental heat. Your body needs to regulate the heat gain (and in cold weather, heat loss) from the environment to maintain a core temperature that’s normal, approximately 98.6° F (37° C). In hot weather, your body cools itself mainly by sweating. Preventing Heat Exhaustion and Other Heat-Related Illnesses • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing. • Avoid sunburn and apply sunscreen to any exposed skin; having a sunburn reduces your body’s ability to rid itself of heat. • Drink plenty of fluids, avoiding alcoholic beverages. • L et your car cool off before you drive it. • N ever leave children or pets in a parked car in hot weather for any period of time; on a hot day, the temperature in your car can rise 20° F in just 10 minutes. • It’s best not to exercise in extremely hot weather, but if you must, follow the same precautions and rest frequently in a cool spot; taking breaks and replenishing your fluids will help your body regulate your temperature. by David McIntyre, MD


Inmotion_Jul_Aug_2014
To see the actual publication please follow the link above