Southwest Florida is full of blue skies and sunshine, making it the ideal place to spend time outdoors. Unfortunately, the extreme heat and humidity put people at a heightened risk of heat exhaustion. While that might not sound serious, you can develop heatstroke if you don’t address the condition, which can cause permanent brain damage or death. It’s essential to learn the signs and treatment options to be ready to take fast action if needed.
Your body will send various signals to let you know you’re experiencing heat exhaustion. Some of these symptoms include:
If you notice you are experiencing any of these symptoms, move to a cool area away from the sun. Sit in an air-conditioned room if possible, or point a fan toward you so you can cool off quickly. Then take off any extra clothing and rehydrate with cool liquids. You can also take a cool shower to lower your body temperature.
If your condition is mild, you should feel better in about 15 minutes. However, if you still have symptoms, it’s best to go to the emergency room or call 911. Otherwise, you run the risk of experiencing life-threatening heatstroke.
The ER doctors will need to determine if your symptoms are due to heat exhaustion or heatstroke. Thus, you might need blood, urine and muscle function tests. Also, diagnostic imaging might be required to determine if the heat-related illness has affected your internal organs.
If your condition has progressed to heatstroke, you’ll need fast treatment to cool down and prevent further damage. The doctor might immerse you in an ice-water bath, cover you in cooling blankets or use evaporation cooling techniques to bring down your body temperature. Additionally, the doctor can administer medications such as a muscle relaxant, so you’ll stop shivering during treatment. This is done to keep you comfortable as the provider brings down your body temperature to safe levels.
Because of the heat in Cape Coral, FL, it’s a best practice to take precautions in order to avoid heat-related illnesses. First, keep an eye on the heat index when spending time outside. The higher the heat index, the greater your risk of developing heat exhaustion. Also, do not go outside when there’s a heat advisory since you can quickly develop a heat-related illness under those conditions.
Additionally, it’s important to stay hydrated when outside. Drink plenty of water and avoid caffeine and alcohol since both are diuretics.
Next, stay in the shade when you’re outside. Staying out of direct sunlight will help your body remain cool in hot temperatures.
Wearing light-colored clothing can also help you avoid a heat-related illness. Because these garments reflect light, you’ll be less likely to get overheated.
Finally, do your best to avoid going outside during the hottest times of the day. Instead, set aside time in the morning or evening to go outside.
If you think you have heat exhaustion or another heat-related illness, visit ShorePoint Health Emergency and Urgent Care immediately. Our team will quickly assess your condition and provide the necessary treatment. With prompt treatment, you can prevent the condition from progressing to a heatstroke.