Watch for Heat Related Illness This Summer

(Torrington, CT) – Summer is here and so is the hot weather. The caregivers at Charlotte Hungerford Hospital want to ensure that all kids, residents, and athletes alike in the Northwest corner take the appropriate precautions to prevent heat illness during the hot summer months.

Dehydration and heat illness associated with exercising or spending extended periods of time in warm temperatures or direct sun can take its toll and many may not be aware of the potential serious effects it may have on the body.

What can you do to avoid heat illness? Keep hydrated with sports drinks which are better than water alone since they are formulated to be well absorbed by the body and to replace important minerals and electrolytes being lost in sweat. Other important measures include not push your limits during times of intense heat by knowing when to slow down, rest or stop. Wear light-colored, loose fitting clothing and take frequent breaks in the shade also help.

Tips to keep cool:

Stay in air-conditioned buildings as much as possible

  • Find an air-conditioned shelter or local cooling center if available
  • Do not rely on a fan as your primary cooling device
  • Avoid direct sunlight
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing
  • Take cool showers or baths

Make sure to stay hydrated!

  • Drink more water than usual
  • Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink more fluids
  • Drink from two to four cups of water every hour while working or exercising outside
  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol or liquids containing high amounts of sugar

Heat illness is a general term that describes a broad spectrum of symptoms and can include:

Heat Stroke: High body temperature (may reach 104’F-105’F or higher), nausea and vomiting, seizures, disorientation or delirium, coma, decreased urination.

Heat Cramps: Painful cramps of the abdominal muscles, arms or legs.

Heat Exhaustion: Profuse sweating, fatigue, headache, nausea, vomiting, chills, weakness, excessive thirst.

Heat Syncope: Weakness, dizziness or fainting associated with exercising in heat.

Children and the elderly are much more vulnerable to heat related illness than healthy adults. Certain medical problems like diabetes, obesity and heart disease increase the risks associated with heat illness as does alcohol consumption and some medications that slow sweat production such as antihistamines, tricyclic antidepressants and diuretics.

If you experience what you believe to be severe symptoms of heat illness, go to the nearest Emergency Room. The Charlotte Hungerford Hospital’s ER at 540 Litchfield Street is open 24 hours a day 365 days a year. CHH Emergency & Medical Care at 115 Spencer Street, Winsted, is open 7 days a week from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Visit www.charlottehungertford.org for information.

The Charlotte Hungerford Hospital is a 109 bed, general acute care hospital located in Torrington, Connecticut, that serves as a regional health care resource for 100,000 residents of Litchfield County and Northwest Connecticut. One Thousand Caregivers, One Job, Your Health.

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