Summer Fun—Staying Safe in the Heat

Riverview Regional Medical CenterAs the temperatures climb, Americans are out in full force enjoying the blessings and challenges of summer fun.  How we love playing and working in the sun!  Everyone is soaking it up.  But there is danger, too.  Heat-related illnesses also escalate in the climbing heat and humidity.  Becoming over-heated while at work or play can prove debilitating, and even deadly.  We offer these summer safety tips with best wishes for a safe and happy summer for you and your loved ones from Riverview Regional in Carthage, Tennessee.

Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion is a heat-related illness that is the result of becoming dehydrated and over-heated in high temperatures.  When the body is unable to cool itself, the body temperature rises and the person becomes ill.  The risk of heat exhaustion dramatically increases when the heat index climbs to 90 degrees and higher.

Risk Factors

Risk factors to take into account especially during a heat wave are:

  • Age—infants and children up to age 4, and adults over 65
  • Health conditions—having physical problems relating to heart, lungs, kidney disease, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, mental illness or alcoholism, among others
  • Taking certain medications—including diuretics, some heart and blood pressure medicines, sedatives and medications for psychiatric conditions

These, and other risk factors, may affect a person’s ability to cope with extreme heat and humidity.

Symptoms and Signs of Heat Exhaustion

Common signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion are

  • Profuse sweating
  • Pale skin
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Rapid heart beat
  • Dark urine ( signals dehydration)
  • Fainting

Immediate Treatment

When you experience any number of these symptoms, or recognize them in someone else, immediately move to a cool or shady area out of the sun.  Remove any heavy clothing, and drink hydrating fluids.  A cool shower or bath will help lower body temperature.  The use of a fan and cold towels are also helpful.

Heat exhaustion is a condition that should not be dismissed or taken lightly.  Without prompt intervention, this illness can progress to heat stroke which can damage vital organs and even lead to death.

Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is a very serious heat-related illness that requires immediate medical attention to avoid potentially dangerous results.  If you or someone else experiences any of these symptoms collectively after spending a lot of time in the heat and sun, get medical help immediately:

Symptoms and Signs of Heat Stroke

  • Overheated, red skin with a body temperature of 104 degrees or higher
  • Lack of perspiration—the main symptom difference between heat stroke and heat exhaustion
  • Increased heart and breathing rate
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Nausea, followed with vomiting
  • Mental confusion
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Severe headache accompanying any of these symptoms

Riverview Regional Medical Center has around-the-clock emergency medical services to meet your immediate needs.  For expert healthcare in your emergency and for high quality, cost effective medical services whenever the need arises, come into Riverview Regional in Carthage, Tennessee.


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