SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) -
Summertime in Florida may remind you of a steamy sauna. A combination of above average temperatures and high humidity may cause heat related illnesses to set-in if you plan to be outdoors. Additional heat advisories could be issued for the Suncoast in the coming days as heat indices are expected to climb anywhere from 103-111° through the weekend.
There is a distinct difference between heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
· Faint or Dizzy
· Excessive Sweating
· Cool, pale, clammy skin
· Rapid, Weak Pulse
· Muscle Cramps
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms get to a cool, air-conditioned place. Drink water to rehydrate the body quickly. Take a cool shower or use a cold compress.
· Throbbing Headache
· No Sweating
· Red, Hot, Dry Skin
· Rapid, Strong Pulse
· May Lose Consciousness
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms you need to immediately call 9-1-1.
Those at greatest risk for heat-related illness include infants and children up to four years of age, people 65 years of age and older, people who are overweight, and people who are ill or on certain medications.
"Anybody who has chronic health conditions would probably be more susceptible to heat related illness, including the elderly and young children. The reason for that would be that they have a little bit less of a reserve as far as their ability to handle heat and hydration," states Dr. Bryce Somer, Primary Care Physician with the First Physicians Group.
Here are some heat safety tips to remember. While some sound obvious, heat is the leading cause of weather-related deaths in the United States. An estimated 12,000 Americans die of heat-related causes annually, according to research by scientists at Duke University. That’s roughly on par with annual deaths from gun homicides.
1. Stay hydrated by drinking water and by replenishing lost electrolytes
“If you wait until the point that you feel thirsty, then you’re already behind in the game. So, you want to make sure that you are pre-hydrating and hydrating throughout in the activities that you are doing,” says Dr. Somer.
Sweat evaporates off our skin which allows for heat loss and cooling. However, when we sweat, we also lose water and electrolytes (i.e., “salts” such as sodium, chloride, potassium). Drinking enough water and having enough electrolytes is necessary for our bodies to function properly.
"You can hydrate with sports drinks, but those do have some added sugars in them as well. So, you want to be careful about how much of those that you are drinking. In addition to drinking fluids it is important to also eat foods along with it. This will then allow our bodies to help regulate our electrolytes," says Dr. Somer.
2. Limit time outdoors and seek shady areas
Try to schedule any outdoor activities during the morning or evening hours to avoid the hottest time of the day. By seeking shaded areas, this allows your body to recover.
3. Wear appropriate clothing
Wear light colored and loose-fitted clothing
4. Do not leave behind children, pets or anyone else in a vehicle
Cars can quickly heat up to dangerous temperatures, even with a window cracked open. To remind yourself that a child is in the car, keep a stuffed animal in the car seat. When the child is buckled in, place the stuffed animal in the front with the driver.
5. Consider keeping the pets indoors and check on elders