With temperatures reaching triple digits last week, people should be wary of hot days and take care of themselves.
“Heat-related injuries can affect persons and animal of all ages,” said Gary Young, Copperas Cove deputy fire chief. “Mild symptoms of dehydration all the way up to death could occur.”
While emergency medical services has varied frequency of heat-related calls, some of those injures can require hospitalization, Young said.
The two most common heat-related injuries are heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
The Copperas Cove-based Harrison and Harrison Internal Medicine clinic sees people suffering from signs of dehydration and other heat-related health issues throughout the summer, said Dr. Karen Harrison, an owner of the practice.
“As soon as your temperatures reach 85 and 90 degrees you need to be careful,” she said. “Particularly if you are not someone who is outside much.”
A lot of patients come into the clinic suffering from cramps, low blood pressure and dehydration, she said.
Those health issues also are more common in people who don’t exercise regularly and are on medications, Harrison said.
“I don’t think people realize at this time of year how quickly the heat can affect them,” she said.
To avoid heat-related health issues, people should stay inside during the hottest part of the day and drink lots of water.
“I tell my patients, if you are going to be outside, you need to go out before 9 in the morning,” Harrison said.
“Most people don’t drink enough water. They drink a lot of caffeinated beverages, and anything with caffeine and alcohol can contribute to dehydration.”
Young said other good tips include wearing light-colored, loose-fitting clothes, staying in the shade and working where there is a breeze or a fan.
People who regularly work outdoors are more acclimated to the heat, but they, too, should take precautions, Harrison said.
“Make sure you are drinking plenty of water and Gatorade,” Harrison said. “You need to make sure that you hydrate before you go, and bring plenty of water with you.”
And don’t forget the sunscreen.
“It doesn’t take more than 10 to 15 minutes to get a sunburn,” Harrison said. “We will see a lot of sunburns in the clinic, and unfortunately, there is not a lot you can do for sunburns. Patients just kind of have to wait them out.”