Local doctor offers tips to stay safe in the extreme heat

Keeping hydrated is a must.

Fred Bodimer
July 19, 2019 - 11:56 am

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) — Our near triple-digit temperatures prompt local physicians to once again remind us how tp avoid any heat-related illnesses over the next few days.   

"A lot of it can be really pretty simple," said Dr. Jennifer Wessels, a family medicine physician and VP of Medical Affairs with the SSM Health Medical Group. "The hottest parts of the day are always going to be mid day — right before and after noontime.  So if you do need to be outside, or you are going to exercise outside, or do yard work, the best time would be either earlier in the morning or later in the evening when it's cooler."

Dressing for the heat is also very important.

"Dressing in light colored and light weight clothes or dressing in layers can help," Wessels told KMOX.  "You also might want to consider making sure you have on sunscreen or sunblock to protect your skin."

Keeping hydrated is a must, Wessels said.

"Make sure you stay hydrated during the day by keeping water or Gatorade or Powerade or another hydrating drink with you.  It's also good to remember that drinks with high alcohol content or high caffeine content can also be dehyrdrating. So it's good to have water or another electrolyte replacement drink with you.  It's also good to take a break — go inside or sit in the shade or be in an air condidtioned area if you start feeling too hot."

Wessels said it is also important to frequently check on those who are most at risk for heat-related injuries — the very young, the very old and those with chronic health issues.

What are the signs and symptoms of a heat-related illness?

"Folks who are getting headaches and getting dizzy," said Wessels.  "Muscle cramps or stomach aches can be early signs that you need to stay hydrated and get to a cooler place.  If folks start to have symptoms of mental confusion, or memory loss, or fainting, or losing consciousness, that can be a sign of a medical emergency and you need to seek treatment right away at an emergency room."

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