Extreme Heat Warning: Three tips to Help avoid Heat-Related Illnesses

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With record-high triple-digit temperatures forecasted across Utah this week, Intermountain Healthcare emergency physicians are warning residents to take precautions to stay safe this week.

“The elderly and the sick are most susceptible to heat-related illnesses, but anyone out and about when it’s hot is at risk, especially those who exercise in the heat, said Adam Balls, MD, an emergency medicine physician at Intermountain Medical Center.

Here are three important reminders that Dr. Balls says you can do to avoid heat-related illness:

1. Avoid exerting yourself during the hottest part of the day. If you want to exercise outside, do yard work, or take a hike, do it in the morning or evening when temperatures are lower.

2. Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water. If you’re. thirsty at all it’s time to start drinking. If you’ll be out working or exercising for more than two hours, you’ll also need some electrolytes, either from a liquid that contains electrolytes –  such as Gatorade – or from salty snacks.

3. Protect yourself from the sun. Wear sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher), lip balm, a hat, and loose-fitting clothing anytime you’ll be out in the sun. “As. You get higher up in the mountains you’ll be even more vulnerable to the sun,” said Dr. Balls.

Signs of heat exhaustion include intense thirst, weakness, discomfort, and dizziness. If. You experience any of these symptoms, rest in the shade or a cool place and drink cool liquids.

Heat exhaustion can lead to heatstroke, which is potentially fatal. Symptoms include confusion and an altered mental status, seizures, and loss of consciousness.

“If a person has heat stroke, we need to bring their temperatures down right away,” said Dr. Balls. “Someone who has symptoms of heat exhaustion and who develops an altered mental status may be succumbing to heatstroke and needs to get out of the heat and seek medical attention immediately.”

Visit Intermountain Healthcare’s website for additional information.

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