Michelle Rupp – We are joined now by Dr. Beth Milligan. Dr. Beth, you have worn a lot of hats … primary care, ER Physician … You’ve done a lot in your medical practice, been around the block a time or two.
Dr. Beth Milligan – Yes. Yes.
MR – Well thank you for joining us today. We want to talk signs of heat illness. There’s heat stress, maybe heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. What do we need to know? And how serious can some of these heat related illnesses be?
BM – We need to define it first. You know, what is heat exhaustion? It’s basically the early signs that your body is experiencing stress from brand too hot. It’s that simple. Now, what does that mean? And put it into small terms, it means you’re losing too much water out of your tissue. You literally, as we doctors say, become dehydrated, you lose a lot of fluid from your tissue very quickly.
MR – It’s interesting that sweating is one of those symptoms because in the summer here in Arkansas, I mean you can sweat just walking outside.
BM – Well, the thing I want you to think about here, and this is a take away, if you’re sweating, you’re already reaching dehydration levels. You don’t want to wait until you’re sweating. Are thirsty? Ask for water.
MR – And you’re also losing electrolytes?
BM – I would assume absolutely, you’re losing electrolytes when you’re sweating. You don’t want to wait to ask for water. We recommend that when you’re outside in the heat, you need to drink two glasses, two to four glasses of water every hour.
MR – Yes. Okay, now that is for heat exhaustion. How do we remedy that? We’ve started noticing some of these symptoms. And so, what do we need to do? Rush inside? What do we do?
BM – Well, if you start experiencing these things, the very first thing you want to do if you can is to get access to water. The second thing you want to do is loosen your clothing before you can try to get to a cool area. But I think the most important thing is to try to drink water. Someone needs to get it to you. If you can’t get to it loosen your clothing and move to a cool area.
MR – Okay, what about heat stress or heat stroke? Are there two different things?
BM – Well, you’re referring to the term heat stroke, which is when you really get to the critical stage where you’re going to have to call 911. Get to a professional that can assist you. That’s when you’ve reached the point that you can get very confused. People will start having seizures. You can really get in a critical situation. It can cause death. So those people need to seek an emergency response to treat their problems.
MR – Heat stress, is there even such a thing?
BM – All that heat stress is, we’re using the word heat stress, is the response to heat exhaustion. So the stresses that the stress signs that your body is showing when you’re early on. So you need to know how to recognize those signs when you start feeling the results of being too hot.
MR – What can we do before hand to prevent or prepare?
BM – Know your heat index. Pay attention before you send your kids outside or you go outside yourself, look at the temperature and the humidity. If they’re both really high and your weather forecasters are telling you that the heat index is going to be really high, you need to be prepared and walk out with water and you want to make sure you’re dressed appropriately for that higher level of heat that you’re going to be exposed to.
MR – Ok Dr. Beth, anything else we need to know before we step outside?
BM – Just be aware and look and know your surroundings. Check the temperature before you go outside right now because we’re going to be hitting those triple digits.