how to avoid heat related illness

How to Avoid Heat Related Illnesses this Summer

Monday, July 20, 2020

by WHMS Trauma Coordinators Betsy Raymer, RN and Talya Shutt, RN

ATKINSON, NE — Summer is here and with that comes the heat!  Every year, many Nebraskans suffer from heat related illnesses. But this can be prevented.

West Holt Medical Services’ trauma coordinators Betsy Raymer, RN and Talya Shutt, RN want the public to be aware of the risks of heat related illnesses and how to avoid them this summer.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the following risk factors contribute to heat related illnesses:

  • Age: The very young and those over 65 years of age are most susceptible.
  • Medication and illegal drugs: Certain drugs can decrease the body’s ability to stay hydrated or increase your core temperature. 
  • Weight: The body’s ability to regulate temperature can be affected by excess weight.
  • High heat index:  The heat index measures how the combined outdoor temperature and humidity level make you feel; a heat index of 91 degrees Fahrenheit or higher is your cue to take care.

How do you know if you are experiencing a heat related illness? Symptoms include heavy sweating, cold, pale, and clammy skin, fast weak pulse, nausea or vomiting, muscle cramps, tiredness or weakness, dizziness, and headache.

So, what can you do to avoid heat related illness? Follow these helpful tips:

  • Pay attention to the local weather forecast and heat alerts.
  • Go outdoors only when necessary and avoid being outside or participating in strenuous activities during the hottest part of the day.
  • Always carry water with you and drink it often, even if you do not feel thirsty.
  • Dress in loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing and wear a wide brimmed hat.
  • Don’t forget to check on at-risk family members, friends, neighbors and pets.

If you find yourself needing emergency care, the West Holt Medical Services trauma team is here to help you 24-hours a day, 7-days per week. However, we hope you will enjoy the warm weather safely this summer.