Survival tips for hot weather.
by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H. Many years ago, before many of you were born, I trained at a large Dallas hospital. In the summers, the ambulances carried tubs of ice, and if they picked up someone with probable heatstroke, they’d start to ice them then and there. I don’t know if they still do that, but heatstroke continues to be an emergency, killing hundreds each year and leaving many more disabled. And cooling remains the top priority in treatment. Heatstroke Warning Signs In order to know what to do, you need to be able to recognize the warning signs of heatstroke (also called sunstroke). With heatstroke your vital organs shut down. Many people even stop sweating. It’s like your body has given up (or burned out). One of the first organs that shows damage is the brain. Therefore, many of the signs and symptoms of heatstroke are related to brain function, such as: […]
by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looked at the period between 1979 and 2003 and found that more people died from heatstroke than from hurricanes, lightning, tornadoes, floods, and earthquakes combined. And most heatstroke deaths are so preventable. In my last post, I suggested 10 ways to cope with the heat until you can get acclimated. That’s a good start to preventing heatstroke. But some of us are still going to get too hot. The youngest and oldest, the chronically ill, and those who work outside are especially at risk. To Prevent Heatstroke, You Must … Recognize Heat Exhaustion The good news is heatstroke doesn’t just come out of the blue. It’s one problem in a spectrum of heat-related illnesses. First comes heat exhaustion. If you heed its warnings and do the right things, you can prevent what’s sure to follow otherwise—the potentially deadly heatstroke. […]
by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H. Where I used to live, in Mississippi, it got hot in the summer. Really hot, and humid. Going outside was like entering a sauna. Many of my patients worked outside. Others worked in large metal buildings with no air-conditioning. Each year, I would have to treat several for hyperthermia. The surprising thing, though, was how few. A big reason is they worked yearlong that way. The seasons change gradually, and their bodies adapted. Even then, though, when it got in the high nineties their bodies needed help. The smart ones had learned the tricks on how to survive the heat. […]