Stay Safe and Healthy This Summer
Courtesy Acadian Ambulance Service, Collin County LIVING WELL Magazine, Denton County LIVING WELL Magazine, and North Dallas LIVING WELL Magazine
As temperatures continue to climb, it’s a good time for a refresher on how to beat the heat and stay safe and healthy this summer.
“We’re so accustomed to the weather being hot in Texas – especially after last summer’s record-breaking heat – that it’s easy to forget how dangerous it can be,” says Porter Taylor, vice president of operations for Acadian Ambulance Service’s North Texas division.
The elderly, the very young and those who are ill are most susceptible to heat-related illness, but no one is immune.
The best way to beat the heat, of course, is to stay in an air-conditioned area – either at home or in a public place such as a recreation center, a shopping mall or a library. If air-conditioning isn’t available at home, use shades or blinds to darken the room and create cross-ventilation with fans. Use the oven and other heat-generating appliances sparingly.
For most people, though, staying inside all summer just isn’t an option. If you can’t avoid the heat, drink plenty of fluids, wear a hat and light-colored, loose-fitting clothing and take frequent breaks.
Here are other precautions from the Texas Department of State Health Services:
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate – but avoid drinks with alcohol, caffeine or a lot of sugar. Start drinking fluids before you go out into the heat; don’t wait until you’re thirsty. And aim for a combination of water and beverages that include electrolytes.
- Plan strenuous outdoor activity, including exercise, lawn work and gardening, for early morning or evening when the temperature is lower.
- Eat more frequently, but make sure your meals are well balanced and light.
- Check with a doctor about the effects of sun and heat when taking prescription drugs, especially diuretics or antihistamines.
Symptoms of heat illness can include sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, cool and clammy skin and a rapid and shallow pulse rate. At the first signs of heat illness, the DSHS says, move to a cooler place, rest a few minutes then slowly drink a cool beverage.
If conditions don’t improve or worsen, seek medical attention immediately. Left untreated, heat illness can rapidly progress to heat stroke, which can be fatal.
Symptoms of heat stroke include extremely high body temperature, red and dry skin, rapid pulse and confusion; these can lead to loss of consciousness, brain damage and even death.
To help a person showing these severe symptoms, get them into shade, call 911 and start cooling them with cool water or by fanning, the DSHS advises.
“We’ve all heard the old saying about ‘an ounce of prevention,’” Taylor says. “This is especially important in the summer. Taking simple precautions and watching for the warning signs of illness is the best way to guard against heat-related problems.”
Dedication, innovation, excellence – these are the driving forces behind Acadian Ambulance Service’s commitment to provide the best possible patient care and customer service. Founded in 1971, the nationally accredited and employee-owned Acadian is the largest privately held medical transportation company in the nation, serving millions of residents in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi. Learn more about us at www.acadianambulance.com.