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Stay cool and enjoy the summer safely

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

With the warmest spate of weather descending upon Connecticut and the eastern portion of the United States over the next three days, doctors at Yale New Haven Hospital (YNHH) say that staying cool and beating the heat can become a serious challenge. The combination of warm temperatures expected to reach the low to mid-90s plus high humidity levels will make for a heat index approaching triple digits. 

“People have to take the initiative and protect themselves from the heat,” says Dr. Marc Shapiro, medical director, department of emergency medicine on the Saint Raphael campus at YNHH.  “The elderly and very young are certainly the most vulnerable. Heat stroke is most often seen in elderly people during and following a heat wave, as well as athletes participating in extreme heat. Heat waves often come with some advance notice fortunately and people need to prepare and be reminded of the dangers. This short cluster of very hot and humid weather is the first so far this summer and likely, not the last so everyone should take precautions.” 

While summer is a fun season  with a lot of outdoor activity,  doctors still caution that necessary steps be taken for people to be aware of when they might be overdoing it. Yale New Haven’s emergency department offers advice to protect from heal-related illnesses: 
  • Wear light-colored, absorbent, loose-fitting clothing and a hat.
  • Drink plenty of water and refrain from alcoholic beverages, which can contribute to dehydration. If you are exercising, drink about a quart of liquids an hour to replace essential fluids.
  • Stay in cool, shaded areas when possible, and if you must be in the sun, protect your skin with a sun block. 
  • Cancel or postpone athletic activities during periods of high heat and humidity
  • When heat-related illnesses occur, know the signs, so you can help administer first aid care. 
“You might be suffering heat-related illnesses if when you are in the sun, you suddenly feel weak, sweat excessively, experience leg cramps, nausea or vomiting,” said Dr. Shapiro. “It is very important to treat minor symptoms appropriately to avoid the more serious heat stroke. Drinking fluids is crucial. If the heat illness is so severe that the person is unable to drink, they should be seen by a physician or in the emergency department for fluid administration.” 

As the warm weather encroaches and pool use increases, these safety tips should also be followed: 
  • Regularly check gate latches and make sure they are secure and safe. 
  • Never allow children to play in a pool area unsupervised. Remove all toys or anything a child might want to retrieve from the area. 
  • Post CPR instructions and 911, police, fire and rescue numbers in the pool area
  • Keep life-saving equipment, such as a life-preserver, in the immediate pool area. 
  • Have a telephone handy and resist the urge to use your phone while children are swimming. Your attention should never be diverted from watching those in the pool. 
  • Make sure all doors and gates that lead to and from the pool area are locked and secure when the pool is not in use.