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Dec 5, 2023

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Health Tips For Avoiding
Heat-Related Injury
Or Illness During Heatwave

NEWARK, NJ (June 13, 2017) – The long, hot days of summer can bring dangerously high temperatures,which are oftentimes associated with varying degrees of heat-related illness and injury.

Dr. Eric J. Wasserman, MD, FACEP, Vice Chairman and Medical Director of the Emergency Room at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center has a few tips on staying cool, safe and healthy when the weather heats up:

  • Remain indoors, preferably in an air conditioned environment, as much as possible when temperatures rise.  Be sure to check on those who may not have air conditioning in their homes, in particular, the very young, old or those with chronic medical conditions.
  • Wear loose-fitting, breathable, lightweight and light-colored clothing that keeps away moisture and reflects rather than absorbs the sun’s rays.
  • Hats, sunglasses and sunscreen are a must when venturing outdoors under bright skies.
  • Slow down and avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day.  If you must work outside, take frequent breaks in the shade and work with a partner.  STOP and retreat indoors to a cooler environment at the first sign of weakness, dizziness, nausea or pain.
  • HYDRATE!  Drink plenty of water or electrolyte containing solutions throughout the day.  Avoid drinks containing caffeine or alcohol which may contribute to dehydration.
  • Never leave children or pets inside parked vehicles as extreme temperatures ≥ 120 degrees Fahrenheit can result in deadly consequences.

Heat-related emergencies range from mild and reversible heat cramps to more serious conditions such as heat exhaustion and life-threatening heat stroke.

Immediately relocate anyone suffering from these to a cooler location, loosen clothing and begin replenishing fluids.  Active cooling with wet cloths, spray bottles and fans can help reduce body temperatures to a safe range and reverse symptoms.

The hallmark symptom of heat stroke is a core body temperature above 104 degrees Fahrenheit.  But fainting may be the first sign.

Call 911 immediately for those suffering from severe heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

Other symptoms of heat stroke may include:

  • Throbbing headache
  • Dizziness and  feeling light-headed
  • Lack of sweating
  • Red, hot, and dry skin
  • Muscle weakness or cramps
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Behavioral changes such as confusion, disorientation, or staggering
  • Seizures
  • Unconsciousness

Preventing heat-related illness and injury in the first place with careful planning and preparation BEFORE heading outdoors is the key to staying safe when temperatures rise.  Have a wonderful summer!

Newark Beth Israel Medical Center