Welcome to our new health blog. My name is Ana, and I am the health reporter at the Merced Sun-Star. In this blog, you will find posts about the latest in health care research and medicine, as well as information about upcoming health-related events taking place in Merced County. I will also use this space to provide tips and advice from experts on how to deal with current health issues and concerns. I will be posting throughout the week, so don’t forget to check back regularly to get your dose of health news and information.
On this first post you will read about the importance of keeping yourself and your family cool this summer.
The weather is warming up, and when those temperatures hit the triple digits, heat-related illnesses become a serious issue.
According to the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, approximately 20 people die from heat-related emergencies each year. Heat strokes and heat exhaustion are among the most common. Heat strokes occur when the body cannot control its temperature, and heat exhaustion occurs when the body loses large amounts of water in sweat.
But do you know the warning signs of a heat stroke or heat exhaustion?
Some signs to watch out for include: dizziness, throbbing headaches, muscle cramps, weakness and nausea. Heavy sweating and paleness may also be indicators of a heat-related illness. Experts advise that if the warning signs are present, people call 911 and try to cool down while they wait for help to arrive.
Because children and the elderly are the most affected by heat waves, it’s critical that we dress them in light clothing, give them plenty of fluids and never leave them unattended in a parked car.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also offers additional tips on how to beat the heat. Some include:
Drink more water regardless of your activity level.
Avoid drinking alcoholic and sugary beverages as these cause your body to lose more fluids.
Stay indoors, if possible in an air-conditioned place.
While electric fans provide comfort, they will not prevent your body from overheating. Showers and baths are better options.
Limit outdoor activity and exercise
Put on sunscreen SPF 15 or higher
It’s important we remember that our four-legged friends are also vulnerable to the heat.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ web page offers some useful hot weather tips on how to keep our animals safe. Some of these include, finding a shady spot, trimming longer hair and gradually introducing pets to water and swimming.