WJMC - West Jefferson Medical Center

WJMC - West Jefferson Medical Center


Be Aware & Beat The Heat


WJMC - Beat the Heat New Orleans 2014

 



In New Orleans and other southern states, the summer months can bring extreme temperatures. Heat, especially when elevated by extreme humidity, can cause a number of health problems and even death. It’s best to stay out of direct sunlight, stay hydrated and, most of all, listen to your body!


Conditions (ranked from most to least severe):

Heat Stroke1

Heat stroke is a severe condition that most commonly affects the elderly, the chronically ill, the very young, and youth athletes. Symptoms include nausea, dizziness, low blood pressure, and pale complexion. If a person’s temperature is 104°F or higher, or if any of these signs and symptoms occur, seek medical attention immediately.

Heat Exhaustion2

Heat exhaustion is a condition that affects people of all ages. The most common symptoms are cool, moist skin and goose bumps, along with faintness, dizziness, and muscle cramps.

Heat Rash3

Heat rash occurs when pores are blocked and perspiration remains under the skin. This condition is most common in infants, but can affect people of all ages. Symptoms include red bumps, itchy skin, and minimal perspiration in the affected area.


Conditions (ranked from most to least severe):


Elderly (and those with chronic medical conditions)4,5

  • Adults age 65 and older are especially susceptible to heat-related conditions.
  • Those with chronic medical conditions may be taking prescription medications that hinder the body’s ability to regulate internal temperature.
  • Drink lots of water, be mindful of your medication’s side effects, stay in cool areas, and refrain from strenuous outdoor activity.

Outdoor/factory Workers6

  • Those who work outdoors, in factories, or other areas that are exposed to high temperatures are more likely to experience heat-related injuries or conditions.
  • Sun poisoning affects outdoor workers more than any other group. Symptoms include severe sunburn, dehydration, and rapid breathing.
  • Special tips for outdoor workers:

    • Regularly apply sunscreen
    • Wear light, loose-fitting clothing
    • Beat midday heat by scheduling tough tasks for the morning
    • Check with your supervisor to schedule more frequent indoor breaks
    • Stay hydrated
    • Find out if your company has a heat prevention plan

Low Income7

  • If you do not have air conditioning in your home, see if there are any air-conditioned shelters in your area. Call the local anti-poverty agency to see what help or resources may also be available.
  • Set-up a support system in your neighborhood for frequent check-ins. Pay special attention to elderly people living in your area and people with special needs.

Youth Athletes8

  • Heat related illnesses can occur more frequently with those engaged in athletic activity, such as children and adolescents at a higher risk than adults.
  • Over 9,000 cases occur each year in the United States, with the highest rate among football players (10 times that of other sports), occurring mostly in August.
  • If not treated, heat related illness may progress to heat stroke, a life threatening problem.

Treatments & Prevention Tips9


If you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of a heat-related condition, follow these steps for treatment:

  1. Move to a cooler location, if possible
  2. Sip cool (not very cold) water
  3. Lay down and elevate legs
  4. Take a cool bath, or apply damp clothing to the head and other parts of the body
  5. If vomiting occurs, or if a person’s temperature rises to over 104°F, or if other troubling signs appear, seek medical attention immediately

Follow these tips10 for prevention:

  1. Do not rely on a fan as your main air conditioning device
  2. Stay hydrated at all times - never wait until you are thirsty to drink water!
  3. Tune in to local news networks for weather and safety updates
  4. Schedule regular check-in times with family and neighbors

Stats11


  • 7,233 people died from heat exposure from 1999-2009
  • Heat contributes to approximately 658 deaths each year
  • Males make up 69% of heat-related deaths
  • People aged 65 and older make up 36% of heat-related deaths
  • 94% of heat-related deaths occur between May and September

Sources:

 

 





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