The summer months are beautiful! Flowers are blooming, the grass is green, and the warm weather is ushered in after the cooler winter temperatures. There is always a risk of enjoying too much of the summer temperatures and suffering from a heat-related illness. God asks us to enjoy good heath and take good care of our bodies.
3 John 1:2, NIV Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.
There are two heat related illnesses that you should familiarize yourself with. One is heat exhaustion. The most common symptoms are dizziness, headache, sweaty skin, a fast heart rate (normal is 60-90 beats per minute), nausea/vomiting, weakness, and leg cramps. Heat stroke is the second heat-related illness and the more serious of the two. Heat stroke can present with red/hot/dry skin, an elevated body temperature, confusion, fainting and convulsions.
What should you do if you or someone you are with experiences these symptoms? Get out of the heat and drink cool liquids (4 ounces every 15 minutes as able). Apply a cool compress to the neck and face, or spray the head with cool water, and/or place cool water-soaked towels over the person for increments of 20 minutes. Remove all unnecessary clothing including shoes and socks. Do not leave a person alone showing signs of a heat illness. If you cannot get immediate medical care, call 911 for both suspected heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
Preventing a heat related illness involves some simple strategies and planning. If it is going to be a warm day consider limiting your time outdoors. Drink water throughout the day or Gatorade if not contraindicated in your diet. Continue to eat regular, small meals and snacks to replace salt and electrolytes that are lost during sweating. Avoid alcohol or caffeine during extreme temperatures. Reduce physical demands during excessive heat (ie. weed your garden another day). Rest or go inside with the extreme heat. Above all, report any symptoms that you may have. Don’t deny them. It could mean life or death.
Resting in His Care,
Polly Schellinger, RN
David’s Star Parish Nurse