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CHRISTUS Health Provides Tips to Prepare for Summer Heat

June 10, 2024 – (EAST TEXAS) – The summer heat has arrived, which means understanding and preventing heat-related illnesses is more important than ever, according to CHRISTUS Health.

There are four main types of heat-related illnesses: heat rash, cramps, heat exhaustion and the most severe, heat stroke. There were nearly 2,500 heat-related deaths in the U.S. last year, the U.S. Health and Human Services Department reported.

“It does not take long for your body to feel the effects of the Texas heat,” said Julie Sperling, trauma prevention coordinator at CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances. “It is vital that you prepare your body to be in the heat, take adequate precautions, and recovery properly.”

Sperling said that hydration is the key before, during and after any heat-related activities. Focus on water and sports drinks while avoiding alcohol and caffeinated drinks like soda.

Other suggestions include avoiding outside activities during peak heat hours, wearing loose fitting clothes, finding shelter in shaded areas to lower your body temperature, taking frequent breaks and if possible, working alongside a partner.

“Having a partner, a ‘buddy’ with you, can be vital in recognizing the signs of distress,” Sperling said. “Oftentimes the symptoms of a heat-related illness can be observed by others before we notice it ourselves.”
Symptoms of a heat-related illness include development of a heat rash, cramping, confusion, inability to sweat, seizures, dizziness or fainting, slurred speech, hallucinations and altered mental status, confusion, aggression, or agitation.
Anyone exhibiting these signs should stop their activity, attempt to cool the body immediately, and seek medical attention.

Upon completion of any outdoor activity, pay attention to weight loss, says Jim Rapp, director of the CHRISTUS Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Institute.

If hydration is not adequately replenished between bouts in the heat, a person can continue to lose weight and become significantly more at risk for serious heat related illnesses, he said.

“You cannot lose body fat at nearly the same rate,” Rapp said. “So intentional weight loss through diet and exercise should be cautioned in conditions of high heat and humidity because people can be fooled into thinking they are losing body fat when they are actually losing water and putting themselves at risk for injury.”
Both Rapp and Sperling also encourage people to check on those who have pre-existing health conditions, the elderly and those that may not have access to adequate cooling devices in their homes.


CHRISTUS Health Julie Sperling
CHRISTUS Health Julie Sperling

Author: Matt Janson

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