HERMITAGE—Rising temperatures of summer in Middle Tennessee mean increased risk for heat-related illnesses in our community. The most serious type of heat-related illness is heat stroke, which could cause damage to the brain or even death if not treated quickly.
“We are already seeing an increase in patients coming to the emergency department with symptoms related to prolonged exposure to the heat,” said Dr. Lawrence Yoo, internist for TriStar Summit Medical Center. “Heat stroke typically develops from prolonged exposure to hot temperatures and dehydration.”
Yoo said it’s important that people of all ages plan ahead for their daily activities that will expose them to dangerous temperatures. Those most at risk to heat-related illness are children, the elderly and people with chronic illness. People who work outdoors for extended periods of time should also take extra precautions during extreme hot weather.
Basic heat safety tips include:
• Plan your most strenuous activities in the early morning and late evening hours
• Wear light-weight and loose-fitting clothing
• Drink plenty of water
• Take frequent breaks, preferably in shaded or air conditioned locations
“In addition to precautionary measures, it’s important to know the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke,” said Yoo. “Symptoms to look for include cramping, fainting, nausea and disorientation.”
Yoo suggests knowing your personal risk and being mindful of your family, friends, neighbors and co-workers who may be showing signs of heat-related illness.
If you witness anyone showing signs of heat-related illness, call 9-1-1 or seek emergency medical care quickly. For more information about heat-related illness, visit tristarhealth.com.