Keeping Cool in Texas Heat

Is the heat getting to you this summer? Scott A. Corcoran, MD, shares his top seven suggested ways to stay safe in the heat.

Scott A. Cocoran, MD, offers seven key ways you can keep cool and lower your chances for heat-related illnesses.

1.  Stay inside during peak sun hours. Stay hydrated at all times. Pre-hydrate before being in the sun, re-hydrate after being in the sun and keep drinking fluids while outside.

2.  Heat stroke is caused by prolonged exposure to heat. Your body has a natural compensation measure to deal with heat such as sweating. After prolonged exposure to extreme heat, your body loses these compensation mechanisms which causes a rise in body temperature.

3.  People with heat exhaustion frequently have dehydration, muscle cramps, profuse sweating and may have dizziness, nausea and generalized weakness. Heat stroke takes place when the compensation mechanisms fail. The person may stop sweating and will have a rise in body temperature, mental status changes, seizures, vomiting, diarrhea, fast heart beat, shortness of breath and they may potentially experience organ damage.

4.  Signs and symptoms the occur before a heat stroke include: muscle cramps, profuse sweating, dizziness, nausea and weakness.

5.  Preventing heat stroke and heat exhaustion is a combination of staying hydrated and minimizing exposure to extreme temperatures. It is especially important to avoid heavy exertion in extreme temperatures. The elderly are more prone to heat exhaustion and stroke. Certain medications, especially diuretics, can result in heat exhaustion.  

6.  Muscle cramps, thirst and weakness are all signs of dehydration. Monitoring the urine is very important.  If you are drinking but not urinating, there is a good chance your are dehydrated due to fluid losses through sweat. Also, if the urine is very concentrated, there is a good chance you are dehydrated.

7.  Drink lots of liquids, preferably electrolyte solutions like Gatorade or water. Avoid caffeine and alcohol as both dehydrate. Fans and water mist bottles can be helpful as well.

To learn more about your risk of heat-related illness, talk with your doctor. Do you need a physician referral? Use our online Find a Physician service or call our Physician Referral Line at 1-855-296-6265.

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