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Vanderbilt Medical Center Emergency Department’s Beat the Heat Tips

Jun. 11, 2004, 11:44 AM

From Corey Slovis, M.D., chairman of the department of Emergency Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center:

1. Avoid prolonged direct exposure to bright sunlightótake a time out in the shade, wear a broad-brimmed hat, or shield yourself from the sun in some other way.

2. Wear loose-fitting cotton clothing.

3. Drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids. Alcohol predisposes people to heat stroke or heat exhaustion.

4. Remember that some people are more vulnerable than others: the very young, the very old, and people who are taking diuretics or anti-hypertensive medications have greater risk from the heat.

5. Know the symptoms of heat problems: "Just not feeling right" –lethargy, dizziness, trouble concentrating and slurred speech are common early symptoms.

6. Know how to respond to heat problems: Get affected person to a cool area out of the direct sunlight, keep them wet with cool water or wet towels, turn a fan on them to help cool the body. If the person quickly feels better, it’s likely that no further medical attention is needed. If symptoms persist, get the person to a doctor.

Contact: John Howser, (615) 322-4747

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