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Local doctors see hike in heat illnesses and injuries

Submitted by Brian Hugins

As the mercury rises, physicians at the local Doctors Express urgent care center are seeing a hike in heat related in-juries and illnesses. The heat has patients coming in with sunburn, heat cramps and heat exhaustion. Heat is the number one weather-related killer in the United States, resulting in hundreds of deaths each year. In fact, on average, excessive heat claims more lives each year than floods, lightning, tornadoes and hurricanes combined. The good news- heat related illnesses and injuries are totally preventable.

Age Affects Heat Vulnerability
Studies indicate that, other things being equal, the severity of heat disorders tends to in-crease with age. Conditions that cause heat cramps in a 17-year-old may result in heat exhaustion in someone 40 years old and heat stroke in a person over 60.

Sweat It!
The problem: We often don’t see the heat as a health threat. We sweat and that’s our bodies’ way of keeping cool. But, when faced with extreme heat, sweating may not be enough. When the body can’t cool itself properly, the body temperature rises rapidly which leads to heat exhaustion and heat stroke, and can damage the brain or other organs. Basically, the body starts to cook itself.

Doctors Express docs offer some simple tips on how to stay happy, healthy, hydrated and (out of the urgent care) in the summer heat:

How To Stay Healthy in Heat:
- Drink plenty of water
- Drink extra water if you are consuming dehydrating caffeinated or alcoholic beverages
- Avoid prime heat hours by going outside only early or late in the day
- Seek air conditioning wherever possible
- Dress for the heat by wearing lightweight and light-colored clothing
- Never leave a person or pet in a parked car – even if a window is open a crack, it can heat up in seconds
- If you start feeling overheated, get out of the heat and sun immediately
- The doctor’s prescription for staying cool – ice cream alternating with gelato

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