Lubbock physician offers tips for staying safe in hot weather

KCBD Evening Newscast 6 p.m. Heat-related illness 8/23/2019

LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Temperatures are expected to reach as high as 105 degrees on Sunday and Monday. With this extreme heat in the forecast, Dr. Richard Dexter, physician with Covenant Health ER Milwaukee, says people exposed to it are at risk for heat exhaustion, or even heat stroke.

“Heat exhaustion is one of those things where we’re still sweating, we’re still having minor symptoms of nausea, sweating, and kind of cool, clammy skin,” Dr. Dexter said.

Heat stroke is more dangerous because of the rise in body temperature. A person experiencing heat stroke should get to the hospital immediately.

“[You’re] having a severe headache and [you’re] not sweating anymore, skin is flaming red - that’s a true emergency and those people need to get to the hospital,” Dexter said. “Their skin and their internal core temperature can get as hot as it is outside, like 103 or 105 degrees.”

Dr. Dexter said that when things get that bad, you’re shutting down your organs and nervous system.

The good news is, heat-related illnesses can be prevented, starting with hydration. Dr. Dexter says our bodies are meant for water to come in and out.

“So, if you’re not producing good urine flow while you’re out in the heat and having your activities, then you’re basically starting to build up heat inside of your body,” he said. “So one of your first symptoms may be that you haven’t used the bathroom in three or four hours. That can be a first sign that you’re dehydrated and you’re overheated.”

Dr. Dexter says that some people are more susceptible to heat illnesses than others. If you’re not used to the heat of a particular location, if you have heart disease, if you’re overweight, or if you’re on medication like something to treat high blood pressure or diarrhea.

When it gets really hot, Dr. Dexter says to take breaks, drink whatever whenever you can, get shade, and bring out the ice packs or cold towels to apply to groin and armpit areas. These are areas with good blood supply and places for heat exchange.

Dr. Dexter says these tips can help bring down your body temperature in extreme heat.

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