Whether you love or hate heat and humidity, it’s important to take precautions in the summer to protect yourself from heat-related illnesses.

Prevention

These recommendations can help forestall heat-related illnesses:

Wear clothes that are light in weight and color.

Drink lots of water or juice through the day, regardless of your activity level. Drink continuously, not just when you feel thirsty. Avoid alcohol or sugar-laden drinks and very cold beverages.

Keep cool by staying indoors in an air-conditioned place as much as possible. You can also try taking a cool shower or bath. While sitting in front of a fan may feel good, it won’t prevent heat-related illness if the temperature is in the high 90s.

Limit outdoor work and exercise to early morning and evening hours.

Never leave a person or a pet in a closed vehicle, even if the windows are cracked open.

Check on people who are at greater risk for heat-related illness, including infants, children, people ages 65 and older, and those with heart disease or high blood pressure.

Heat cramps

Muscle spasms or pain in the abdomen, arms, or legs after strenuous exercise are called heat cramps.

To treat this condition:

Stop exercising and sit in a cool place.

Drink water or a sports beverage.

Seek medical attention if the cramps last longer than an hour.

Heat exhaustion

Hot weather, inadequate fluid intake, or strenuous physical activity in the heat may cause this condition.

Warning signs include pale, cool, moist skin; weakness; nausea; and dizziness.

To treat this condition:

Sip water.

Rest in a cool environment.

Take a cool shower or bath.

Seek medical attention if symptoms last longer than an hour.

Heatstroke

This condition occurs when the body can’t control its temperature. Untreated, it can be life-threatening.

Warning signs include a body temperature above 103 degrees; hot, dry skin; rapid pulse; dizziness; confusion; and unconsciousness.

To treat this condition:

Call 911 immediately.

Cool the person rapidly by putting him or her in cool water, a cool shower, or by any other means available.

This week’s Health Talk was submitted by Rutland Regional Medical Center.

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