Take Caution to Stay Healthy in Extreme Heat

Contact:Donna Sellmann, Manager, Public Relations

Take Caution to Stay Healthy in Extreme Heat

Ocean Medical Center offers safety tips as temperatures rise

With temperatures expected to reach above 90 degrees this week, everyone should take extra precautions to prevent health problems. This is particularly important for older adults, infants and children, people with certain medical conditions, those who work in hot environments, and athletes.

The high temperatures and excessive humidity can bring on a variety of health concerns that range from moderate to severe. This can include heat cramps and fainting, to conditions like heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Individuals who are over age 65 may be at greater risk for heat-related illnesses if they have a chronic health condition or take certain medications that interfere with normal body response to heat. Some medications also restrict the body's ability to perspire. Check with your doctor about outdoor activity, and about fluid intake, particularly if you are on a water pill.

Heat exhaustion and heat stroke can affect children as well as adults. "All it takes is exposure to heat without rest or fluids," says Bradley Pulver, M.D., medical director of emergency services at Ocean Medical Center. "Children adjust more slowly than adults to changes in environmental heat, they sweat less, and they do not think to rest or take in fluids when playing."

Dr. Pulver recommends following these tips to help your body stay cool:

  • Drink plenty of water, especially if you are exercising
  • Limit outdoor activity to the cooler parts of the day, before 10 a.m. or after 6 p.m.
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine, which can interfere with sweating and fluid loss
  • Wear a hat and stay in the shade when possible
  • Wear light-colored, loose fitting clothes
  • If your home doesn't have air conditioning, use fans to circulate the air. Visit an air conditioned building like the mall or library to keep cool
  • If kids will be at camp, make sure they wear sunscreen, dress appropriately, and know to tell a counselor if they are not feeling well

"Emergency medical treatment should be sought if a person shows signs of heat stroke, such as headache, dizziness, disorientation, agitation, confusion, fatigue, seizure, high body temperature, rapid heart beat, hallucinations, and hot, dry skin that is flushed but not sweaty," says Dr. Pulver. "Get the victim out of the sun and into a cool place, preferably one that is air conditioned, and call for emergency assistance."

For more information about heat related health conditions and prevention, visit the Wellness Center at OceanMedicalCenter.com.

About Ocean Medical Center
Ocean Medical Center, a member of the Meridian Health family, is a 281-bed non-profit community hospital located in Ocean County, New Jersey, providing health care programs and services in all major medical disciplines, including maternity; oncology; orthopedics and rehabilitation; general, neurological, thoracic, and vascular surgery; cardiology; dialysis; and emergency and critical care services. The Medical Center features Magnet award winning nurses and is a System Partner, along with the other Meridian Health facilities, with the Cancer Institute of New Jersey. Ocean Medical Center also operates the state's first Satellite Emergency Department in Point Pleasant, called the Ocean Care Center. For more information, call the Meridian Health Line at 1-800-DOCTORS or log on to our web site at www.OceanMedicalCenter.com.