Hot weather may affect your health

A spike in temperatures not only impacts your daily plans, but also your health.

“We're definitely seeing a lot more cases of heat stroke and heat-related illnesses both in emergency rooms and care facilities,” said Dr. Matthew Teeters, of the Memorial Medical Group.

Teeters said knowing what to look out for is essential to preventing long-term effects from the heat.

“The inability to sweat, even if it is hot, is sometimes a sign of dehydration,” he said.

Dizziness, fatigue and confusion are also indicators that a person needs to cool down.

“There are differences in heat exhaustion, or a heat rash, which are more minor variations of heat-related illnesses,” Teeters said. “In those cases, symptoms would be cramping or feeling tired. But, if you start seeing neurological changes and people passing out, you need to call 911.”

He also suggests that those who choose to exercise outdoors drink 24 ounces of water two hours prior to working out, and continue to hydrate every 20 minutes.

In the case that someone is suffering from heat stroke, they need to be taken into an air-conditioned environment or into the shade. A sponge soaked in cold water can also provide some relief until emergency crews arrive, according to Teeters.

Quick medical attention can ensure a speedy recovery from heat stroke. Otherwise, there can be serious conditions that develop.

“Heat stroke can be very dangerous,” Teeters said. “As the body's temperature goes above 105 degrees and you loose all fluids, the body gets confused and stops trying to cool itself.”

Heat and Pets

While people can speak out about heat exhaustion, pets can suffer without showing immediate signs.

“Pets do not have all of the protections that we have and walking on the hot pavement can produce blisters,” said Dr. David Visser, of the Roseland Animal Hospital. “We have seen this in years past when we have extreme heat and this is unlike any other year. We expect to find pets that are having blisters on the pads of their feet. It’s not something that shows up right away.”

Visser said that excessive panting, rigid muscles and inability to get up are signs that a pet needs medical attention.

“Excessive panting is going to be very deep, heavy and fast,” Visser said. “When the mouth secretions dry out, it is a sign dogs are not feeling so good.”

He suggests making sure pets have a shaded or cool area throughout the day with enough water to last several hours. Pets are also susceptible to the sun’s rays and can get a sunburn.

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