June 9, 2017

by Mankato Clinic

With temperatures reaching sweltering degrees this weekend, it’s important to take the necessary precautions so you and your family members don’t feel the physical effects the heat can take on your body.

Follow the simple steps below to protect your health when the temperatures are extremely high:

  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids, especially water. If your physician limits the amount of fluid you drink or has you on water pills, make sure to ask how much water you should drink while the weather is hot
  • Don’t wait until you’re thirsty before drinking fluids
  • Avoid drinking alcohol, drinks that are high in sugar and very cold drinks, which can cause stomach cramps
  • Stay cool by staying indoors, in an air-conditioned place
  • Electric fans will not prevent heat-related illnesses when temperatures reach above 90°
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored and loose fitting clothing
  • Take a cool shower or bath
  • If you must be outside in the heat, limit outdoor activity to early morning and evening hours
  • Avoid strenuous exercise. If you must exercise, pace yourself and drink plenty of fluids
  • Rest often in the shade or in an air-conditioned building
  • Check on people who are more at risk to extreme heat. This includes children, pets, elderly and vulnerable people

Extreme temperatures can also cause heat exhaustion and heat stroke, so it’s important to understand the difference between the two serious conditions.

Heat related illnesses like heat exhaustion can be prevented by being in cool temperatures, drinking plenty of water, avoiding sugar, alcohol and caffeine and wearing light clothing. Heat exhaustion signs include:

  • Paleness
  • Tiredness
  • Weakness
  • Headache
  • Fainting
  • Muscle cramps
  • Heavy sweating
  • Nausea or vomiting

If left untreated, heat exhaustion can progress to heat stroke. If you recognize the following symptoms get the individual in cool temperatures and seek medical attention immediately:

  • Extremely high body temperature above 103°F
  • Red, hot, dry skin with no sweating
  • Rapid, strong pulse
  • Throbbing headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Unconsciousness