The summer heat in Florida can be tough for anyone to handle, but it can be downright dangerous for certain people. If you have heart disease, you can talk to your healthcare provider about your elevated risk of heat-related illnesses. It’s also a good idea to know the warning signs of heat-related illnesses and to seek urgent care promptly when they occur.
Why Heart Disease Increases the Risk
To understand why heart disease increases the risk of heat exhaustion and heatstroke, it’s helpful to know how the body cools itself down. On hot days, the heart works harder to pump more blood toward the skin. This allows heat to radiate out from the body. The body also cools itself by sweating, which draws water and minerals out of the body. People with heart disease have a harder time coping with these changes. This can be because:
- High cholesterol clogs arteries and limits blood flow toward the skin.
- Damaged heart muscle interferes with effective blood pumping.
- Cardiovascular medications interfere with heat regulation.
- Diuretic drugs increase urine output, which contributes to dehydration.
How You Can Stay Safe in the Heat
It’s advisable for patients with heart conditions to stay in air-conditioned rooms when it’s hot outside. Try to schedule your outdoor activities for the early morning and evening hours. You can also stay cool by:
- Wearing light, breathable clothing
- Running cool water over your wrists
- Drinking plenty of cold water
If you have congestive heart failure or kidney disease, check with your doctor regarding the number of fluids you can safely consume. If your doctor says it’s safe for you to exercise, plan to do so in the air conditioning.
How to Recognize Heat-Related Illnesses
Heat-related illnesses become progressively worse without treatment. Patients with possible heat exhaustion should receive urgent care. Heat exhaustion is indicated by:
- Nausea and vomiting
- A headache
- Excessive thirst
- Muscle aches and weakness
Heatstroke is life-threatening, and it requires immediate attention at an ER. It can cause these symptoms:
- Rapid heartbeat
- Little to no urination
- Confusion or delirium
- Loss of consciousness
If you could be suffering a life-threatening medical condition, please call 911 without delay. The urgent care doctors at Paramount Urgent Care in Orlando can handle a wide range of non-life-threatening medical problems, including acute heat exhaustion and ongoing management of chronic heart disease. Serving all of Orlando, Lake, Polk, Sumter, Osceola, and Seminole Counties. Please visit our website for a location near you” ParamountUrgentCare.com (352) 674-9218.
Heat exhaustion is a condition that can develop when a person has been exposed to heat for an extended period. If you or someone around you is suffering from signs of heat exhaustion, it should always be treated as a medical emergency. Here is a guide to what everybody needs to know about heat exhaustion and what to do when it happens.
How does heat exhaustion happen?
Normally, your body is able to protect you from the heat through sweating. When the weather is humid as well as hot, however, it’s harder for you to sweat and it’s easier for you to become overheated. Engaging in strenuous activity can increase your chances of heat exhaustion. Infants and older people are at higher risk of heat exhaustion because it’s harder for their bodies to regulate their internal temperatures.
What are the symptoms of heat exhaustion?
People who are experiencing heat exhaustion may find themselves feeling suddenly dizzy, faint, or unusually fatigued. They may also find themselves having muscle cramps or a severe headache. When they urinate, they may notice that the urine is dark-colored—which is a warning sign of dehydration. If a person with heat exhaustion stops sweating, has trouble breathing, or shows high temperatures, it means that their condition may have progressed to heatstroke, which is a life-threatening emergency situation.
How can heat exhaustion be treated?
The immediate treatment for heat exhaustion is to get the person out of the heat and help their body cool down. Applying wet towels, drinking water or sports drinks, and taking off unneeded clothing can all help with this process. Make sure to drink any liquids slowly, and avoid caffeinated drinks. If a person’s symptoms do not improve within a half-hour, or if the symptoms worsen, it’s time to seek emergency medical treatment.
Paramount Urgent Care is here to provide reliable emergency care services to the Central Florida community, including all of Orlando, Lake, Polk, Sumter, Osceola and Seminole Counties. Walk-ins are always welcome, and we accept most forms of insurance. For more information about the medical services we offer our patients, please visit www.paramounturgentcare.com or call (352) 674-9218.
Summer may be all about being outside, but sometimes the price of fun in the sun can be heat-related illnesses. As temperatures soar, falling victim to a heat-related heat issue is always possible, but there are steps you can take to dramatically decrease your risk. Stay out of the urgent care clinic and enjoy the summer without risking your health with these tips.
The risk of dehydration increases during the summer, as you sweat more but may not remember to drink more. Avoid summer dehydration by increasing your water intake, especially when you’re spending extended periods of time outside. Keep water with you when you’re going to be outdoors, and increase your water intake by snacking on water-rich foods, like watermelon and celery. If you’re thirst, you’re already dehydrated, so keep sipping water to stay ahead of the curve. If you feel thirsty, dizzy, and nauseated, you could be seriously dehydrated and may need urgent care.
Spending extended periods of time outside on hot days can lead to dangerous episodes of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, two conditions which require emergency care. Try to avoid being active outside during the peak heating hours of the day – generally between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. When you are outdoors, spend time in the shade instead of under the full blaze of the sun. If you’re at a pool or the beach, cool off in the water frequently, and consider sitting under a shade umbrella. Dizziness, disorientation, nausea, and fainting are all indications that you could need medical care.
Food poisoning cases spike during the summer, because hot temperatures and food safety don’t mix. When you’re eating outdoors, make sure hot foods are served hot and cooked to proper temperatures, while cold foods are served cold. Don’t eat food that sits out in 90 degrees Fahrenheit or higher temperatures for one hour or in lower temperatures for two hours. If you believe you could have food poisoning, seek urgent care.
Paramount Urgent Care is here to ensure illness doesn’t make you miss a beat this summer. Get urgent care in Orlando, Oviedo, Clermont, and Lady Lake when you need it at our convenient walk-in clinics. Find out more by calling (407) 226-1906.
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