Five ways to protect yourself from hot weather hazards

Friday, July 19, 2019

BRIDGEPORT, CT (July 19, 2019) – This week’s heat wave in Connecticut has prompted a health warning from Bridgeport Hospital.

“Hot weather hazards kill hundreds of people in the United States each year and make thousands of others sick, but many heat-related deaths and illnesses are preventable,” says Rockman Ferrigno, MD, Emergency Department chairman at Bridgeport Hospital.

Dr. Ferrigno recommends these steps to reduce health risks in hot weather:

  1. Stay in air-conditioned buildings as much as possible. If your home is not air-conditioned, reduce your risk for illness by spending time in public facilities that are air-conditioned and using air conditioning in vehicles or take cool showers or baths.
  2. Schedule outdoor activities carefully. Pace yourself and wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing and sunscreen.
  3. Drink more water than usual and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink more. Muscle cramping may be an early sign of heat-related illness.
  4. Check on a friend or neighbor and have someone do the same for you.
  5. Never leave children or pets in cars.

Dehydration can lead to more serious health problems, such as heat exhaustion or heat stroke, says Dr. Ferrigno.

In addition to muscle or abdominal cramps, the most common symptoms of heat exhaustion include confusion, dark-colored urine, dizziness, fainting, fatigue, headache, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. He says people with these symptoms should seek care at the nearest urgent care center or emergency department, or call 9-1-1 for an ambulance. In addition, certain medications may inhibit the body’s ability to sweat, which can increase the risk of heat exhaustion, adds Michael Werdmann, MD, emergency department physician at Bridgeport Hospital. He recommends that people check with their doctor about the effects of their medications.

Bridgeport Hospital, part of Yale New Haven Health, is a non-profit 501-bed acute care hospital with two campuses (plus 42 beds licensed to Yale New Haven Children's Hospital). Its Bridgeport and Milford Campuses serve patients from across the region. The hospital admits more than 23,000 patients and provides nearly 350,000 outpatient treatments annually. The Connecticut Burn Center at Bridgeport Hospital is the only burn center in the state and one of only 64 verified burn centers in the United States. Bridgeport Hospital is committed to providing safe, compassionate and cost efficient care to its patients and the community.

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