Ask the Doctor: Summer-related safety reminders

Published: May. 30, 2023 at 12:48 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - It’s starting to feel a lot like summer here in Michiana, so we’re talking to Dr. Bob Cassady from the South Bend Clinic this week about some important safety reminders to keep in mind as the heat makes its way to our area.

Questions #1: “We want to talk about sunburn. It’s a big concern. What are some reminders on preventing it?”

DR. BOB: Ultraviolet light from the sun or a tanning bed can cause an inflammatory response in the skin, which leads to redness and pain.

If someone gets a sunburn, the condition will resolve on its own. But it is important to prevent further exposure to the sun.

They can use calamine lotion, cooling cloths, or aloe to help with symptoms. Ibuprofen can also help with symptoms.

The use of sunscreen with at least SPF 30 can prevent sunburn but needs to be reapplied every couple of hours.

It is also important to avoid the sun during the hottest part of the day.

Question #2: “We want to touch on heat stroke. What are some of the symptoms?”

DR. BOB: Heat-related illness happens when the body’s cooling mechanisms are overwhelmed.

Typically, this happens when it is hot, and someone is doing physical activity which is generating body heat.

Signs of heat-related illness are the lack of sweating, muscle cramps, dizziness, exhaustion, and possibly elevated temperature. If it is severe, people make be confused, pass out, or even become unconscious.

Question #3: “Lastly, let’s touch on how to cool off if you experience any of these symptoms.”

DR. BOB: If you are concerned about heat stroke, it is important to get out of the heat and into the shade. You can also immerse someone in cool water to help cool them down.

If someone has significant confusion or is not responsive, they need to go to the hospital immediately. We can help prevent heat illness by hydrating well and acclimatizing.

Hydration means drinking plenty of water before activity and then replenishing electrolytes during activity.

Acclimatization means getting used to exercising in the heat or building up a tolerance to it over time.

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