Good Day Utah


Beating the heat: How to stay safe as summer temperatures climb

Posted at 9:43 AM, Jun 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-07 19:41:44-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Summer weather is great, but too much of a good thing can cause some serious health issues.

Dr. Filip Roos, chief medical officer at Mountain Star Healthcare joined John Franchi on Good Day Utah Tuesday morning to talk about the dangers and how to avoid them.

Here are some of the topics they discussed.

Difference between heat exhaustion and heat stroke

  • Heat exhaustion occurs when the body loses excess amounts of water and salt, typically from sweating
  • Heat stroke is a serious medical emergency that occurs when your body is unable to control its internal temperature, reaching 103°F or higher

Knowing the signs and symptoms of these two conditions could absolutely save lives.

Symptoms of heat-related illnesses:

  • Increased thirst, sweating
  • Weakness & extreme tiredness
  • Fainting
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea & vomiting
  • Headache
  • Cool, pale & clammy skin

Symptoms of Heat Stroke:

  • Little or no sweating
  • Dizziness, confusion
  • Seizures
  • Fast breathing & heartbeat
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Severe headache
  • Flushed, hot, dry skin

First aid for heat-related illnesses:

  • Move to a cooler environment
  • Lay down & loosen clothing
  • Apply cool, wet cloths to the body
  • Fan or move victim to air-conditioned room
  • Sip water

Get medical help right away if:

  • You throw up
  • Symptoms get worse
  • Symptoms last longer than 1 hour

First Aid for Heat Stroke:

  • Call 911 or get the victim to a hospital immediately. Delay can be fatal
  • Move the victim to a cooler, preferably air-conditioned, environment
  • Reduce body temperature with cool cloths or bath
  • Do NOT give fluids
  • *Use fan if heat index temperatures are below the high 90s. A fan can make you hotter at higher temperatures. Taking a cool shower or bath or moving to an air-conditioned place is a much better way to cool off.*

Some people more susceptible than others to heat illness. If exposed to certain risk factors, anyone can be susceptible to a heat-related illness. However, there are several factors that can further contribute to the effect a heat illness can have on your body:

  • High body mass index, or obesity
  • Old age
  • Environmental conditions, such as high humidity
  • Poor physical fitness
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Health conditions that predispose you to dehydration and malnutrition
  • Intense physical exertion. High-level athletes are susceptible to heat illnesses, especially when training outdoors. In fact, the CDC reports that heat illness during practice or competition is a leading cause of death and disability among U.S. high school athletes, and a number of college football players have died due to complications from heat illness as well

Tips to avoid heat stroke and exhaustion:

  • Stay hydrated! Drink enough fluids — such as water or sports drinks — while you’re outdoors. (Do NOT drink alcohol or a caffeinated beverage before exercising, as they both can dehydrate you.) Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink
  • Exercise early in the day, before it gets too hot or after sunset
  • Take breaks when you exercise
  • Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothes
  • Wear Sunscreen. Sunburn affects the body’s ability to cool down and can make you dehydrated. If you must go outdoors, protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and by putting on sunscreen
  • Pay attention to weather warnings about high temperatures (as your meteorologists inform us!) & avoid being outdoors as much as possible on days you know will be extremely hot

More tips during the hot season:

  • Check on at-risk relatives & friends during heat waves to make sure they can stay cool — and to help if needed… Especially for people who don’t have air conditioning, the summer heat can quickly make living spaces dangerous
  • Check on pets
  • Use your stove and oven less to maintain a cooler temperature in your home
  • Avoid hot & heavy meals. They add heat to your body