Heat illnesses can be prevented by being careful in hot, humid weather.
Increased activity in the summer could result in heat exhaustion or heat stroke, a cascading condition that can cause permanent disability or death.
Older people, those struggling with health issues and young children are most susceptible to heat exhaustion as well as athletes who wear helmets and heavy uniforms during summer practices. But sports cardiologist Matthew Martinez, MD, cautions that everyone needs to be aware of the symptoms to protect themselves and those around them.
Know the Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion
The symptoms of heat exhaustion can include:
- Cold skin
- Muscle cramps
Know the Symptoms of Heat Stroke
The symptoms of heat stroke can include:
- Lack of sweat
- High fever
- Irrational behavior
When not properly addressed, heat exhaustion can develop into heat stroke, a condition where the body is simply unable to cool itself and begins to shut down.
Dr. Michael Weinrauch, cardiologist, urges people to acclimate to the season and to practice common sense when spending time in the sun. He also says it is critical to recognize when someone is in crisis.
“The summer heat and humidity sneak up on us and it is important to know how to respond if you suspect a person is suffering from heat exhaustion or heat stroke.”
According to Dr. Martinez, treatment for heat exhaustion involves stopping activity, moving the person to a cooler, shaded location, and providing cold water until the symptoms decline. If a person’s condition worsens, and symptoms of heat stroke emerge, it is important to get the person as cool as possible and to contact medical professionals. They will likely begin IV therapy to quickly hydrate the person and cool the body.
Hands-Only CPR is Key To Saving Lives
Matthew W. Martinez, MD, director of Atlantic Health System Sports Cardiology at Morristown Medical Center, and Cardiology Today Editorial Board Member, participated in a Q&A with health news website Healio about why bystander CPR and AED use is so important, what the barriers are to adoption and how promotion of hands-only CPR could increase the usage of bystander CPR and improve outcomes.
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