How to prevent heat-related injuries and stay cool in summer

Hot weather in summer is the perfect time to go swimming or relax in the shade.

But it can easily lead to heat-related injuries, such as sunburn and dehydration.

it’s important to know the signs of the injuries and how to stay cool when the temperatures soar.

According to BIDMC emergency medicine physician Laura Burke, MD, heat exhaustion includes heavy sweating, breathlessness, a fast but weak pulse, headache, dizziness and nausea or vomiting.

It can happen to anyone overexerting themselves in extreme heat. If symptoms are severe, people should call for medical help right away.

People at an increased risk for heat exhaustion include people with heart disease or high blood pressure, people over age 65, infants and children, and people with a sunburn that impairs the cooling mechanism of the skin.

In addition, heat exhaustion can lead to life-threatening heatstroke.

During heat stroke, the body can no longer cool itself down through sweating, which can result in damage to major organs.

Common signs of a heat stroke include hot and dry skin, a fever higher than 102°F, headache, confusion, and unconsciousness.

It is important to cool the person down by getting to shade or into the air conditioning. Apply cool water with wet cloths and call for medical help immediately.

The researcher provides several important tips to help people stay cool and healthy in the heat.

Drink plenty of water. People should avoid alcohol, which can impact your ability to sweat properly, and caffeine, which is a natural diuretic.

Dress in light-colored, loose-fitted clothing. Breathable clothing allows sweat to evaporate. In the hot sun, cover up with a hat and sunscreen.

Reduce outdoor activity. If you plan to exercise outdoors, avoid peak hours when temperatures are highest.

Take a cool shower. Another way to cool down quickly is to take a cool shower or bath or to place a cool washcloth on your forehead.

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