Handling The Heat: Staying Cool And Preventing Heat-Related Illnesses

Source: Stougard via Wikimedia Commons

Maimonides Medical Center has added a section to their website with information teaching New Yorkers how to keep cool during a heat wave.

The city is in the midst of its hottest 12-month period since the Civil War, according to the Wall Street Journal. The summer began with heat indexes pushing 100-degrees and the heat continued last week as Tuesday’s temperatures reached 96-degrees. Last summer’s heat caused the deaths of 31 people throughout the city.

“The body has ways of keeping itself cool, by letting heat escape through the skin, and by perspiring,” says Dr. John Marshall, Chair of Emergency Medicine at Maimonides. “If the body does not cool properly or does not cool enough, the victim may suffer a heat-related illness. Anyone can be susceptible although the very young and very old are at greater risk. Heat-related illnesses can become serious or even deadly if unattended.”

The extensive guide covers everything from heat rash to sunburn. It features details, causes, solutions, treatments and prevention. The guide is worth checking out considering the scorching summer we’ve had.

Here are a few useful tips that may not be so obvious:

  • Avoid the use of powders, creams, and ointments as they tend to block pores and keep skin warmer.
  • Infants, children, and the elderly are especially susceptible to dehydration because of higher turnover of electrolytes. Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day, especially when it is very hot.
  • Alcohol and caffeine interfere with the body’s ability to control its internal temperature and make you more susceptible to dehydration.
  • Most doctors recommend using sunscreen with an SPF level of 30 or greater.
  • Sunburn can be relieved by placing wet rags over the burn or with ibuprofen.

So make sure you keep cool in the weeks to come as temperatures are set to rise once again.

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