Avoiding Heat Exhaustion (Kids & Pets)
It’s heating up outside! While we love the warmer weather it’s important to remember that there are health risks with high heat. Our health expert, Nurse Rose Melendez, RN, shares the signs of heat-related illness and how to prevent these problems.
What types of health problems can occur in extreme heat?
Nurse Rose: Normally, the body cools itself down by sweating. Heat related illness can occur when the body heats more quickly than it can cool itself down, leading to heat exhaustion or the life-threatening condition, heat stroke.
You and your family should know these signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion:
- Heavy sweating
- Cold, pale and clammy skin
- Fast, weak pulse
- Nausea or vomiting
What should you do if you notice these signs?
Nurse Rose: If you suspect heat exhaustion, move the person to a cooler location, provide water, loosen the clothing and apply a cool compress to cool them down. If they vomit or worsen, call 911.
If the condition worsens, you might notice these signs of heat stroke:
- Red, hot dry skin
- High temperature (above 103 degrees F)
Call 911 immediately. Move the person to a cooler environment and try to cool them with a cool cloth or bath.
How can we prevent these problems?
Nurse Rose: Luckily, there are ways to reduce your risk of heat-related illness. Try these simple tips:
- Stay in air-conditioned buildings when possible
- Avoid direct sunlight by finding shade or bringing an umbrella
- Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing
- Hydrate – drink 2-4 cups of water every hour while working or exercising outside
- Take breaks to rest from work or play in the sun every 15-20 minutes
What about our pets in hot weather?
Nurse Rose: Many people forget that pets can experience heat stroke or heat exhaustion. Follow these tips to keep your furry friends cool.
- Keep pets in air conditioning when possible
- While traveling in a car, ensure the pet is well ventilated and never leave the pet in the car with the windows closed
- When outdoors, ensure your pet has plenty of shade and water
Rose Melendez, RN
Head of Emergency Department
Rose Melendez, RN is the head of the Emergency Department and Nursing Administration at Adventist HealthCare Washington Adventist Hospital.
Tune into WGTS 91.9 FM every Wednesday at 7:40 a.m. to listen to Nurse Rose live on the radio.