FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Ahead of four days of potentially record or breaking heat, MedStar is offering tips to help northern Texans beat the heat.
According to MedStar, its teams treated eight patients with heat-related illnesses in May, with five in the past two days alone.
Prolonged or intense exposure to hot temperatures can cause heat-related illnesses, including heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
Heat exhaustion occurs when the body loses large amounts of water and salt through excessive sweating. Loss of essential fluids can interfere with circulation and brain function, and children and the elderly are most at risk. Symptoms include muscle cramps, paleness, sweating, nausea and vomiting.
Heat stroke is a life-threatening condition that occurs when the body loses the ability to cool itself after experiencing long, intense exposure to heat. Some of the most common signs of heat stroke include confusion, vomiting, change in sweating, hot and flushed skin, rapid heartbeat, decreased sweating, shortness of breath, decreased urination, increased body temperature (104 to 106 degrees Fahrenheit), or potentially even convulsions.
Heat stroke is a medical emergency. If you or someone you know starts to experience any of the above symptoms, call 9-1-1 immediately.
While heat stroke and heat exhaustion are common at this time of year, they can be easily avoided by following these tips offered by MedStar:
- Hydrate: Drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially if you are involved in any strenuous activity. Sports drinks are a good choice if you’re exercising or working out in hot conditions, but water is also a good way to hydrate.
- Ventilate: Stay in a place where there is plenty of air circulating to keep your body cool. If you’re indoors and don’t have air conditioning, open the windows and use a fan.
- Cover: Wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing to avoid absorbing sunlight and retaining heat. Wear a hat to protect yourself from the sun, but when you feel yourself getting warm, remove any items covering your head that could trap heat close to your body.
- Activity Limit: Heat stroke can occur in less than an hour when you are participating in a strenuous activity during a hot day. If you feel yourself getting hot or light-headed, stop your activity and rest in a cool place, away from the sun. Be sure to drink water or a sports drink before, during and after any strenuous activity.
- Check on loved ones: Seniors are especially vulnerable to heat-related emergencies. Many elderly residents are not aware of the heat it can make into their home. Call older friends and family regularly to make sure they are okay.
Children in hot cars
Texas leads the nation in deaths of children in hot cars. MedStar offered the following tips to prevent these tragedies:
- Do not leave children alone in cars.
- Make sure your vehicles are secured to prevent a curious child from getting stuck in the car on a hot day.
- If you have a car seat for a child in your car, leave a stuffed animal in the car seat. Once the kid is in the seat, place the stuffed animal in the front seat as a reminder of the kid in the back seat.
- Use wake-up app-enabled reminders to remind you to check for children when you arrive at your destination.
- If you find an unattended child in a hot car, alert authorities immediately and, if necessary, be prepared to act based on the 9-1-1 attendant’s instructions!
MedStar said these guidelines also apply to pets.