Summer Heat Getting You Down?













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Summer Heat Getting You Down?

It's all too easy for summer fun to be spoiled by illness. Here's a list of common heat related conditions and treatments that you should know about.

Heat Rash
Treating heat rash is simple and usually does not require medical assistance. However, if you have any questions, especially concerning small children, it’s best to contact your physician.

Symptoms

* Looks like a cluster of pimples or small blisters
* Most likely to be located on the neck, upper chest, groin, under the breasts, and in elbow creases

Management

* Provide a cooler, less humid environment
* Keep affected area dry
* Corn starch powder may be used to increase comfort
* Avoid using creams or ointments as they keep the skin warm and moist and may make the condition worse

Heat Exhaustion
This is the body’s response to an excessive loss of water and salt contained in sweat. Those most prone are elderly people, but it can occur to anyone of any age who is working or exercising in a hot environment. If you don’t feel better within 30 minutes, seek medical attention in an emergency room.

Symptoms

* Pale skin
* Headache
* Profuse sweating
* Nausea and/or vomiting
* Dilation of the pupils
* Weakness or reduced level of consciousness

Management

* Move to a cool environment
* Loosen clothing
* Apply moist, cool towels
* Elevate feet slightly
* Furnish liquids to drink unless patient complains of nausea or vomiting

Heat Cramps
These are muscle spasms, usually in the abdomen, arms, or legs. It usually affects people who sweat a lot during strenuous activity. This sweating depletes the body’s salt and moisture. The low salt level in the muscles causes painful cramps. If the cramps do not subside in one hour, seek medical attention.

Symptoms

* Severe pain and cramps in legs and abdomen
* Faintness, dizziness or weakness
* Profuse sweating

Management

* Increase salt intake by giving salty fluids
* Encourage reduction in activities
* Move to a cool location

Sunburn
Overexposure to the sun causes sunburn. The time it takes to sustain a sunburn varies widely with each individual, due to age and skin type.

Symptoms

* Skin is red and warm to touch
* Skin may be blistered and/or swollen
* Sever reactions include fever, chills, nausea, or rash
* Sunburned area will peel several days after sunburn

Management

* Apply cool compresses or bath for 10-15 minutes several times a day
* Baking soda in the water may help relieve the pain
* Apply a soothing lotion to the skin. Do not apply petroleum jelly, ointment, or butter to the sunburn. They make the symptoms worse and do not allow air to assist in healing.
* Do not use over-the-counter cremes and sprays that contain benzocaine. This often causes an allergic reaction, especially in children.
* Over-the-counter pain medicine, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) may be helpful. Do not give aspirin to children.
* Contact your physician if sunburn is severe. A steroid creme may be prescribed for relief.

Heat Stroke: EMERGENCY
This can lead to death if emergency treatment is not given. It appears very similar to heat exhaustion, but there are some key symptoms to look for in a heat stroke. The key symptom to look for is disorientation. Heat stroke occurs when the body becomes unable to control its temperature. The body’s temperature rises rapidly, the sweating mechanism fails, and the body is unable to cool down. Body temperature may rise to 106 degree F or higher within 10-15 minutes.

Symptoms

* Disorientation
* High temperature
* Skin has a reddish tinge to it
* Rapid pulse
* Sweating has stopped
* Light-headed/fainted
* Nausea and/or vomiting
* Weakness/dizziness

Management

* Call 911 immediately for emergency assistance
* Monitor and reduce body temperature with ice, bath, etc.
* Move to a cool area and elevate head
* Provide with fluid