Staying Safe in Extreme Heat

Published on July 17, 2019

How to Stay Safe in Extreme Heat

Photo of Dr. Wael Hakmeh.Over the next few days, southwest Michigan, along with much of the rest of the United States will be experiencing high temperatures.

Dr. Wael Hakmeh from Bronson South Haven’s Emergency Department reminds the community of the dangers when temperatures reach the high 90s. “As the temperatures and humidity rise in our area, it’s important to take precautions and be able to identify signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.”

As you prepare for the next few days, here are some things Dr. Hakmeh encourages everyone to keep in mind:

  • Stay hydrated – be sure to drink plenty of water and include fluids that have electrolytes. When we sweat, we lose electrolytes.
  • If you have to be outside – be sure to take plenty of breaks. Apply plenty of sunscreen and take time to find a cool area to let your body cool off.
  • Avoid over-dressing – sometimes people wear extra layers when working out to get a better sweat, that can very easily lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

Certain Individuals are more prone to heat exhaustion and heat stroke due to the medications they are taking. Certain drugs can cause dehydration and or impair the body’s ability to sweat properly. If your body can’t sweat, it is unable to release heat which can lead to serious health issues. Elderly individuals are at particular risk for heat related health issues. “We worry about older individuals. It’s important that we check on friends, neighbors and loved ones to make sure they are feeling well and have air conditioning and fluids,” says Dr. Hakmeh.

If you are experiencing muscle cramps, dizziness, a headache, a rapid pulse or low blood pressure, you should move out of the heat to a cool place immediately and make sure to hydrate well, advises Dr. Hakmeh.

If you have a temperature of more than 104ºF and/or are experiencing confusion, call 911 or go immediately to the emergency department to receive professional care.