PINEHURST — As high temperatures reach across the Tar Heel State, Dr. Geoffrey Martin, medical director of the FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital emergency department, advises people to take precautions to avoid heat stroke and other serious heat-related health problems.
Follow Martin’s tips to help prevent heat-related issues.
• Limit heat exposure to shortest period possible and find shade whenever possible. Staying in an air-conditioned area, either at home or in a public place, is the most effective way to combat heat. If air conditioning is not available, pull the shades over the windows and use cross-ventilation and fans to cool rooms.
• Wear protective clothing and sunscreen. Loose clothing and hats also help to keep cool.
• Drink fluids frequently. Stay hydrated with water. Avoid drinks that are heavily sweetened or contain caffeine. Start drinking fluids before heading out into the heat.
• Some medications or alcohol can make you more prone to dehydration and heat injury. Ask your doctor if you are uncertain about your medications and their effects related to contributing to heat-related illness.
• Certain populations are particularly vulnerable – keep an eye on the following:
— Infants and young children
— Mentally disabled individuals shouldn’t be left unattended
— Elderly patients or those with physical/psychiatric disabilities.
— Never leave a vulnerable person in a vehicle unattended, ever.
• The best defense against heat-related illness is prevention.
— Stay cool
— Drink plenty of fluids
— Wear cool, loose clothing
— Monitor your outdoor activities
For more information, visit www.firsthealth.org.