Beat the heat with these tips from Vanderbilt’s emergency departmentAug. 6, 2007, 10:48 AM
Slovis said Vanderbilt’s emergency department typically sees two types of heat emergencies – heat exhaustion, which is caused by dehydration, is associated with headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, and cool, usually damp skin. Heat stroke, the most serious heat emergency, is defined as a body temperature over 105 degrees, irrational behavior, extreme confusion, dry, hot and red skin, and rapid, shallow breathing.
Slovis offers these tips to avoid a heat emergency:
1. Avoid prolonged direct exposure to bright sunlight—take a time out in the shade, wear a broad-brimmed hat, or shield yourself from the sun in some other way.
2. Wear light-colored, 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.
Media contact: Jerry Jones, 615-322-4747