With more people heading outdoors to take advantage of warm weather, don’t let hidden health hazards put a damper on your summer fun. Doctors at AFC Urgent Care centers treat patients suffering from heat and sun-related illnesses each year.
Here are a few heat related concerns to look out for:
With that warm summer sun comes another common seasonal problem – sunburn. Long-sleeved, loose fitting shirts, wide-brimmed hats and sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays are musts these days. It can be easy to skimp on the sunscreen, but skin cancer rates are high in the U.S., so it is important to take precautions. However, if you miss a spot or don’t remember to re-apply your sunscreen, then you can use cool damp cloths, aloe vera creams, and over-the-counter pain relievers to help soothe the burn. If itching is an issue, antihistamines like Benadryl can also help.
The most common summer complaint is dehydration. Elevated temperatures and the hot sun can sap the body’s moisture quickly. Water and shade breaks are vital to staying hydrated. Also, try to schedule outdoor activities when the sun’s rays aren’t so intense – typically before 10 a.m. and after 2 p.m. Dehydration can worsen quickly, bringing on dangerous conditions like heat exhaustion and life-threatening heat stroke.
Heat Stroke and Heat Exhaustion
If dehydration is severe, heat exhaustion and heat stroke can occur. People suffering from heat exhaustion may have cool, moist skin, headaches and dizziness. Nausea and vomiting may also occur. If possible, stop all activity, move to a cool, shaded place and drink water or sports drinks.
If heat exhaustion is left untreated, heat stroke can occur. Symptoms of heat stroke include dry, hot skin, fever, seizures and unconsciousness. As with heat exhaustion, move to a cool, shaded place, drink water or non-caffeinated beverages and call 911. If available, cover the person in towels or sheets soaked in water to help the body regulate its temperature. Heat stroke is deadly, so anyone showing symptoms should see a doctor immediately.
With any of these summer hazards, the best treatment is prevention, but if injuries or symptoms are severe, always visit your local urgent care for an expert, professional examination.