Maimonides doctor tells how to beat the heat
With New York in the grip of a heat wave, a top doctor at Maimonides Medical Center is offering tips on how to stay safe when the temperature reaches into the 90s.
Dr. John Marshall, chairman of Emergency Medicine at Maimonides Medical Center at 4802 10th Ave., said everyone should be taking proper precautions.
“The body cools itself naturally by allowing heat to escape through the skin, which is called perspiration. If the body doesn’t cool properly or doesn’t cool enough, a person may suffer a heat-related illness,” said Marshall.
It’s important to be aware of the increased risk of heat-related related problems among seniors, people with chronic physical or psychiatric conditions and young children and babies, according to Marshall, who said their skin surface to body mass ratio is low. In other words, they often can’t perspire enough to cool down.
Summertime activities should be balanced with habits that aid the body’s cooling system and prevent heat-related illness, Marshall said.
Brooklyn, like the rest of New York City, was expected to see above-90 degree temperatures both Monday and Tuesday before a cooling-off period on Wednesday.
Marshall said the following strategies can help keep people safe:
Drink more fluids (non-alcoholic) regardless of your activity level. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty.
Avoid caffeinated, alcoholic and sugary beverages, as these liquids can lead to dehydration. Also avoid extremely cold drinks, which can lead to stomach cramps.
Stay indoors during the warmest hours of the day, and, if possible, in an air-conditioned space.
When you are outdoors, wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing and a wide-brimmed hat to deflect the sun’s harmful rays.
Limit outdoor exercise. If you must exercise outdoors, remember to stay hydrated by drinking two to four glasses of cool fluids each hour.
Avoid hot foods and heavy meals – they add heat to the body.
“It’s easy for people to overlook their own risk for heat illness. Anyone can be susceptible to heat illness, and it can become serious or even deadly if left untreated,” Marshall said.
Symptoms of heat-related illness include fatigue; nausea and vomiting; headache; excessive thirst; muscle aches and cramps; weakness; dizziness, vertigo or fainting; drenching sweats, often accompanied by cold, clammy skin; rapid heart rate; slowed or weakened heartbeat; and shortness of breath.
To get quick relief after exposure to the heat, take a cool shower or move to an air-conditioned space.
If your home does not have air-conditioning, go to a nearby shopping mall, public library, movie theatre or any other venue that’s cooler than your home. A few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cool when you go back into the heat.
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