Temps are rising: Tips for how to prepare for the summer heat in the Ozarks

It’s important to acclimate yourself for the heat
Published: Jun. 11, 2021 at 5:16 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 11, 2021 at 5:55 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - The summer heat is setting in, and if you don’t have a swimming pool, you’re at the mercy of the elements.

Luke Spain, the Outreach Coordinator for Injury Prevention for Cox Health, says going from a cool home to the hot outdoors may put your body into shock.

“We do see a pretty big spike in heat stroke and heat exhaustion type injuries in the early summer because people aren’t prepared for it or they don’t remember how to prepare for it,” Spain said.

Now is not the time to push your body, especially while exercising. This puts you at a greater risk for heat exhaustion and stroke. Listen to your body and take a break. You can push your exercise later in the summer when your body is more used to the heat.

The most important tool against the heat is water.

“If you find yourself thirsty at all, you are not drinking nearly enough water,” Spain said.

During the summer you need to consume more water than in the winter months. While eight cups is the recommended amount, drink more water if you spend more time outside.

Prepare in advance before heading outdoors. Wear light or loose fitting clothing. This will reflect more sunlight and keep you cooler. Wear a hat and apply sunscreen. Drink water before you head outside.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke can set in quickly.

Dr. Nancy Yoon, the Chief Medical Officer for the Greene County Health Department, said, “People who are at a higher risk of heat related illnesses would be infants and young children, people over the age of 65, or someone with underlying health conditions.”

Springfield-Greene County Health Department says there were 50 cases of heat related illnesses in 2020. The year before, health leaders recorded 82 cases. In 2018, the department recorded 149 people suffering from heat-related illnesses.

Heat illnesses are preventable.

The Center for Disease Control lists out the following signs of heat related illnesses, as well as what to do if you start showing symptoms. Remember, if you have had a heat-related illness before, you are more susceptible.

Signs of heat cramps

  • Heaving sweating during intense exercise
  • Muscle pain or spasms

What to do if you show signs of heat cramps

  • Stop physical activity
  • Move to a cooler place (such as the shade or inside)
  • Drink water or a sports drink
  • Wait for cramps to subside before resuming activity
  • Get medical help if cramps last more than an hour, or if you’re on a low sodium diet or have heart problems.

Signs of heat exhaustion

  • Heavy sweating
  • Cold, pale, and clammy skin
  • Fast and weak pulse
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Muscle cramps
  • Tiredness/weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Fainting

What to do if you show signs of heat exhaustion

  • Move to a cool place such as the shade or indoors
  • Loosen your clothing
  • Put cool and wet cloths on your body
  • Drink water

When to get medical help if you’re suffering from heat exhaustion

  • You are throwing up
  • Your symptoms worsen
  • Symptoms last longer than an hour

If you start showing signs of heat exhaustion, take care of yourself right away. Heat stroke can set on quickly.

Signs of heat stroke

  • High body temperature
  • Hot, red, dry, or damp skin
  • Fast, strong pulse
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Losing consciousness

What to do if you show signs of heat stroke

  • Call 911 right away. Heat stroke is a medical emergency
  • Move the person to a cooler place
  • Using cooling cloths to cool the person
  • Do not give the person anything to drink

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