Summer in Coastal Mississippi means more time in the sun! Stay safe with tips on how to enjoy the extra hours of sunshine.
Learn the signs of heat stroke and heat exhaustion
Unfortunately, higher temperatures can lead to some concerning conditions. Learn more about the difference between heat stroke and heat exhaustion from Nurse Practitioner Chelsey Windham!
What are signs and symptoms of heat stroke?
“A heat stroke is a medical emergency and can lead to death. The person may not realize that they are experiencing a heat stroke as they may lose consciousness or become confused. They may experience headaches, feeling hot, nausea, and fast heart rate but a key factor is that their skin will remain dry and not sweat. Their body temperature will be over 104 degrees. Cool compresses, moving to a cooler area, and calling 911 are appropriate actions.”
What are signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion?
“Heat exhaustion can occur when experiencing excess heat with the symptoms of headache, dizziness, sweating, nausea, weakness, and a fast pulse. The key difference is this person will be sweating and body temperature will be less than 104 degrees.”
Are the symptoms the same for children?
“Adults and children have similar symptoms, but careful monitoring of small children/babies who cannot talk for signs of restlessness, irritability, and lethargy from the heat.”
The body is made up of between 55%-78% water. Water helps:
- Aid digestion and get rid of waste.
- Work your joints. Water lubricates them.
- Make saliva (which you need to eat).
- Balance your body’s chemicals. Your brain needs it to create hormones and neurotransmitters.
- Deliver oxygen all over your body.
- Cushion your bones.
- Regulate your body temperature.
Dehydration can happen quickly, especially in the Mississippi summer heat. Signs of dehydration include:
- Headache, delirium, confusion.
- Tiredness (fatigue).
- Dizziness, weakness, light-headedness.
- Dry mouth and/or a dry cough.
- High heart rate but low blood pressure.
- Loss of appetite but maybe craving sugar.
- Flushed (red) skin. Swollen feet. Muscle cramps.
- Heat intolerance, or chills.
- Dark-colored pee (urine). Your pee should be a pale clear color.
Beat dehydration by drinking before you’re thirsty. If you’re concerned that you or a family member are experiencing severe dehydration, our emergency department is here to assist.
Care for your skin:
- Spend time in the shade as much as possible. Sand and water reflect the sun’s UV rays, and you will continue to absorb rays even under shade.
- Pick a sunscreen with SPF of 30 or higher, specifically those that include zinc or titanium that block both UVA rays (cause melanoma) and UVB rays.
- Certain medications can make you susceptible to absorbing the sun’s rays more than you typically would be, including heart medications and diuretics (fluid pills).
- Limit your time spent in chlorine. To prevent negative effects from chlorine, be sure to shower after swimming, use moisturizer, and consult a dermatologist or a pediatric dermatologist for your child if more severe reactions occur.
- Keep an eye on moles that are changing in color, bleeding, or breaking down in the middle.
- As soon as you start to notice concerning skin damage, visit your dermatologist.
Chelsey Windham, NP is a nurse practitioner that cares for patients at Memorial Physician Clinics Lakeview Multispecialty. Meet Chelsey and schedule an appointment by clicking the button below.