Beat the heat

Be prepared when the dog days of summer arrive.

As the snow thaws, temps rise and the sun starts to peek out, the risk of heat-related illnesses also begins to rise.

Symptoms for heat-related
illnesses include:
  • Excessive thirst
  • Weakness
  • Headache
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Muscle cramp
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Fatigue

And it’s those symptoms that become more frequent in the McLaren Oakland emergency department.

Heat exhaustion, dehydration and shortness of breath are common chief complaints as the temperature rises.

“We’re reminded every summer of just how dangerous the heat can be,” said Dr. Harrison Tong, an emergency physician at McLaren Oakland. “When it gets really stifling, extra precautions should absolutely be taken, and everyone should be on the lookout for symptoms.”

Dr. Tong suggests wearing lightweight fabrics, light-colored clothing and hats, and drinking extra fluids when going outdoors. He also advises against going out when the sun is directly overhead (approx. 12 noon to 3 p.m.) while avoiding any unnecessary exertion.

“If you have to head outside when it’s 90, 95 or even 100 degrees, take note of that fact and plan accordingly,” he said. “And if it’s an activity that can wait, maybe save it for another, cooler day.”

If you or anyone near you begins experiencing symptoms, head to the nearest emergency department for an evaluation and treatment by a physician.