Make sure you beat the heat

Julie Schroll

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Summer is a fun time of year. Many people like to spend time outdoors and at the beach. However, spending too much time outside on a hot day can be dangerous and can cause heat exhaustion. Heat exhaustion happens when your body overheats and cannot cool itself down. According to an article found on the “Family Doctor” website, you are more likely to get heat exhaustion when you are exercising and doing work in hot weather. Heat exhaustion can cause muscle cramps and weakness. It can also cause sweating, nausea, vomiting and dizziness. Young children, older adults and people with heart problems are more likely to get heat exhaustion. It is more likely to happen if you haven’t been drinking enough water or if you are wearing tight, heavy clothing. It is also more likely to happen if you have been drinking alcohol.

If heat exhaustion gets worse, it can lead to heatstroke. Heatstroke is a very serious medical problem that can damage your brain and other organs, and if left untreated, you can die from it. Symptoms of heatstroke can be fever of 104 degrees or more, fainting, red skin, trouble breathing, seizures and a lack of sweating, according to the same information on Family Doctor. If you think someone has heatstroke, you should call 911. While waiting for help to arrive, it is important to help the person cool down. Kinkade and Warhol said this can be done by putting the person in cool or cold water, using a fan or putting ice on them.

It is important to take care of yourself while you are outside or exercising on a hot day. You can help prevent heat-related illnesses by drinking plenty of water and using sunscreen. You should also wear lightweight clothing and take plenty of breaks from the hot weather. Family Doctor recommends staying in the shade can help protect you from getting too hot as well.   

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 8,081 heat-related deaths in the United States between 1999 and 2010. Ninety-four percent of these deaths happened between May and September. There have been a lot of stories in the news about heat-related illnesses and deaths, especially in children. In South Carolina, there have been 11 cases of heatstroke deaths in children who were left in a car between 1998 and 2017 according to the “No Heatstroke” website. Leaving the windows slightly open does not stop the car from heating up quickly. In fact, the “Look Before You Lock” website states the temperature inside of a car can get up to 125 degrees in a few minutes even with the windows cracked. This is something parents should be aware of even if they just plan to go into a store quickly. Heat-related illnesses are serious and can develop quickly but are also easy to prevent.

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Make sure you beat the heat