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WELLNESS

Local emergency room has heat health tips

Fountain Hills Medical Center

Posted 6/11/24

Summer heat in Arizona can be challenging for a variety of reasons.

However, the most important is keeping healthy as the heat increases to triple digits and everyone wants to stay as active as …

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WELLNESS

Local emergency room has heat health tips

Fountain Hills Medical Center

Posted

Summer heat in Arizona can be challenging for a variety of reasons.

However, the most important is keeping healthy as the heat increases to triple digits and everyone wants to stay as active as possible. Heat illness can be dangerous, even deadly if not addressed quickly.

“As Fountain Hills enters triple-digit season, we want to bring awareness to a common, and serious, medical condition that can arise from outdoor activity in the heat,” said Dr Meka Ezeume, CEO at Fountain Hills Emergency Room and Medical Center.

Heat exhaustion can occur with exposure to high temperatures, often during physical activity. When the body overheats, often caused by an excessive loss of water and salt (usually through sweating), heat exhaustion can set in.

When left untreated, complications from heat exhaustion can lead to serious consequences including organ damage or death. Because of this potential severity, it’s important to get checked at the emergency room. Fountain Hills Emergency Room and Medical Center is the only emergency treatment facility in the community.

Anyone experiencing the following symptoms when sweating and/or in a warm or hot environment should call 911:

          *Nausea

          *Headache

          *Dizziness

          *Weakness

          *Irritability

          *Elevated body temperature

          *Decreased urination

          *Weak, rapid pulse

          *Cold, pale, and clammy skin

          *Fainting

“Our medical center will assess and care for your symptoms and quickly determine the best level of care for you between our medical clinic, our urgent care center or our emergency room,” Ezeume said. Because we’re an all-in-one medical center, we remain constantly equipped to provide rapid and appropriate care for your heat exhaustion care in Fountain Hills.”

There are a few conditions that can make someone more susceptible to heat exhaustion or other heat-related illnesses. These conditions include age, having a sunburn or fever, obesity, heart disease, poor circulation and drug or alcohol use.

However, with a few simple considerations, heat-related illnesses can be prevented while still enjoying favorite activities. Here are a few tips for staying safe and healthy during warm weather activities:

*Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Since sweating rids the body of needed salts and minerals, hydrating with sports drinks containing electrolytes and with water is recommended. Electrolytes can include the essential minerals of calcium, sodium, phosphate, potassium, magnesium and chloride. It can take less than an hour for the body to start losing electrolytes in warm environments, which are needed for the body’s systems to remain working properly. Because caffeine can be dehydrating, avoid caffeinated beverages.

*Be choosy about the time of activities. Avoid midday or afternoon outdoor activities, and allow time for incremented rest in shade or in air-conditioned areas.

*Grab a friend. Because heat-related illnesses can cause disorientation, fatigue or dizziness, one may not be the best judge of whether they need to seek medical help, or when they need to take a break. Two people can serve as heat awareness accountability partners, providing each other with reminders to use sunscreen, rest, drink fluids or take a snack break.

*Take it easy. If starting a new exercise or trying to ramp up activity level, be sure to take it slow in warm weather. If the activity makes the heart beat faster or harder than normal, or affects the ability to take a full breath, find a cool area and rest.

“While we’re big advocates of being active during every season, it’s very important to make safe and smart decisions when in elevated temperatures,” Ezeume said.

An individual’s medical professional can answer their heat exhaustion questions and provide some ideas for spring and summer activities that can keep one active and healthy. With a few precautions, heat-related illnesses in Fountain Hills can be avoided, even as the thermometer continues to climb.

The Times Independent invites readers to submit their civil comments on this issue. Email AZOpinions@iniusa.org. Bob Burns can be reached at bburns@iniusa.org.