Summer is an exciting time for North Side Spokane as various outdoor entertainment events are lined up for its residents to enjoy. Unfortunately, staying outside for long under the harsh rays of the sun can lead to various heat-related illnesses that will need treatment from local walk-in clinics.
Though urgent care units in North Side Spokane are more than ready to accommodate those people stricken with a heat-related illness, it pays to know the ways in which you can prevent yourself from falling sudden victim to these conditions.
Types of heat-related illnesses
Heat-related illnesses can range from mild to very severe. These are usually brought upon by prolonged exposure to the sun’s harmful rays. Heat-related illnesses can be divided into three categories according to severity: (1) cramps, (2) exhaustion, and (3) stroke.
Heat cramps are usually experienced by athletes or those who do strenuous physical activities during hot weather or climate. Cramps and muscle spasms are the common symptoms of this illness.
Heat exhaustion, on the other hand, is defined as the loss of fluid and essential salts through excessive sweating. The commonly used name for this type of heat-related illness is dehydration. Not taking action to alleviate this can lead to the final and most severe type of heat-related illness – heat stroke.
Heat stroke is diagnosed whenever a person is suffering a feverish body temperature of 104ºF, skin that is hot to touch, and a rapid pulse rate. Heat stroke patients are also prone to losing consciousness immediately after being stricken by this illness.
Who are at risk?
The elderly and the very young can both fall victim, as their immune systems are not as resistant as an average person’s. Those who are alcoholic, obese, or under medication may also be potential victims of these heat-related illnesses.
How to prevent falling victim to heat-related illnesses
Mostly, just drinking lots of liquids can mitigate the risk of cramps, exhaustion, or heat stroke. This is especially effective if the liquid contains salts and minerals in it. Most sports drinks are marketed to contain the essential salts and minerals. There are also salt tablets available in the market that you can dissolve in ordinary water as an alternative to sports drinks.
Also, it is recommended to wear summer clothing at all times. Clothes that are made of cotton fabric are best since this lightweight textile lets your body breathe. Avoid wearing clothes that are dark-colored as it can absorb heat.
Avoid going out when the sun is at its peak. Instead, plan your summer activities to be either early morning or late afternoon.
Finally, sunscreens are your best friends this summer. Never leave home without applying some on your skin to avoid sunburns.
Warning Signs and Symptoms of Heat-Related Illness, cdc.gov
First Aid & Emergencies, WebMD.com