Tips for Identifying and Preventing Heat Exhaustion and Dehydration

Some say, “By the time you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated.” Staying hydrated is very Heat Exhaustionimportant in the hot New Jersey summer months, especially if your body is trying to fight off an illness, if you’re engaging in physically activity, or if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.

eMedical Urgent Care can help you understand and identify the signs and symptoms of heat illnesses, how to treat them and (most importantly) how to protect yourself and your child against the dangers of becoming dehydrated in the first place. So, grab your water bottle and read on to enjoy a hydrated and happy summer.

Dehydration

Signs of dehydration do in fact include the sensation of thirst and a dry mouth (cotton mouth) as well as dry skin, decreased or yellow urine, headaches and dizziness. Severe dehydration also can cause extreme thirst, fatigue, irritability and confusion. Since your body can lose fluids through sweat, urination, diarrhea or vomiting, it’s best to replenish before activity, at regular intervals during and continue drinking water after exercise.

Dehydration can be expressed as the loss of percentage of body weight. Scientists define dehydration as fluid losses greater than only one percent. Water is lost first from the blood, which is 90% water. (Dehydration can become fatal when 9-12% of your body weight is lost via fluids.) On the average, water makes up 60 to 70% of your body weight. Different cells contain different percentages of water, for example: muscle cells are 70 to 75% water whereas fat cells are only 10 to 15% water. Therefore, a muscular person will have a larger percentage of his or her body weight coming from water.

What is Heat Exhaustion?

Heat exhaustion is a condition that generally includes intense sweating and an increased heart rate due to your body’s response to overheating. It is usually caused from a prolonged exposure to hot temperatures (especially when involved in physical activity and high levels of humidity).

Common symptoms of heat exhaustion include:

  • Intense sweating
  • Tiredness
  • Dizziness / fainting
  • Significant increase in heart rate
  • Muscle Cramps
  • Nausea
  • Sudden headache

Other Heat-Related Illnesses

In addition to heat exhaustion, untreated dehydration can lead to two other heat-related illnesses including heat cramps and heat stroke. Heat cramps are the least aggressive of the three and include painful cramps of the abdominals, arms or legs. Heat stroke requires immediate care and includes severe symptoms such as 104 temperature or higher, nausea, vomiting, seizures, disorientation, lack of sweating, shortness of breath, unconsciousness and could even lead to a coma.

Don’t Let Your Body Fool You, Stay Hydrated!

It’s even easier to dehydrate during the hot summer months when sweat evaporates faster and losing large amounts of fluids might not be as noticeable. According to the old rule of thumb, drink eight glasses of water per day (some experts recommend even more), but you also can quench your thirst by consuming hydrating foods (all of which are at least 90% water by weight) including: cucumber, lettuce, celery, radishes, tomatoes, green peppers, cauliflower, watermelon, spinach, star fruit, strawberries, broccoli, grapefruit, carrots and cantaloupe.

Replenish Fluids and Electrolytes

Remember, anyone may become dehydrated, but young children, older adults and people with chronic illnesses are most at risk. If you or a loved one experience any of the symptoms above, it is important to seek shade, rest and drink plenty of hydrating fluids. Extreme dehydration and heat stroke are medical emergencies that require immediate attention, possibly including a saline IV. Don’t ever hesitate to seek medical attention from the doctors at eMedical Urgent Care in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey (908) 464-6700, or Middletown, New Jersey (732) 957-0707.

Flip Flops Could Be Killing Your Feet

Flip flops tend to be synonymous with New Jersey summers at the shore, and most of us have multiple pairs. They exude a freeing sensation for your feet and your soul…that is, until they become a tripping hazard. Recent studies have shown that certain types of flip flops can be detrimental to your feet and can actually cause major health issues in the future. Below we will explore some reasons why you should reconsider how much you’re wearing flip flops and provide some helpful tips to avoid injury. 

1. Blisters (that can lead to infection)

Search for the most comfortable flip flop: This is one of the essential keys to avoiding potential foot issues. Sandals based on design or brand alone can be tough on your feet. If the strap is uncomfortable or the thong is flimsy, it could cause blisters or cuts which could lead to infection if you’re in public places like a pool or the beach. And remember to let your sandals air out when they get wet; wet flip flops cause uncomfortable friction and irritation.

2. Permanent Foot Damage

Due to certain medical conditions such as hammertoe, people should decrease the amount of time wearing flip flops. Hammertoe can occur when your toe knuckles bend inward from wearing flip flops too much. This can destroy posture, interrupt balance control and ultimately leave you with misshapen feet. Therefore, it is highly recommended to switch it up every now and then (read: wear comfortable sneakers) to avoid such issues.

3. Trip Hazards

Whether they are rushing to go hang out with their friends or playing sports…children run. They don’t walk. Flip flops and children can be a dangerous combination. Toe injuries from riding bikes with inadequate footwear is very common; bump toe sandals can provide adequate protection for children to run and ride a bike safely. Bruises and broken toes can also happen from slipping out of the shoe, tripping from someone stepping on the back of the flip flop or even accidentally kicking a solid object like a coffee table or rock.

Alternatives to the Universal Summer Footwear Favorite

Shoes should be safe not hazardous. So choose wisely next time you reach in your closet for a pair of shoes. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal addresses these risks and more: “Despite these dangers, experts encourage children to challenge themselves outside. Reaching that next monkey bar is an important part of a child’s maturation. And the benefits of being outside and getting physical activity far outweigh any risks. The risk of a lack of physical activity, they say, is far greater: obesity.”

So, keep an extra pair of comfortable sneakers or bump toe sandals for you and your children in the trunk of your car for an easy switch if you start experiencing pain. And don’t hesitate to visit us at eMedical Urgent Care; we’re available 7 days a week.

No Appointments Necessary!

Remember, eMedical provides great care when you need it (without the long waits and expense) in two locations: Berkeley Heights, New Jersey (908) 464-6700, and Middletown, New Jersey (732) 957-0707. Feel better knowing we’re here.

Safety Tips for the 4th of July

The first day of summer has officially arrived and the 4th of July is upon us! Red, white and blue backyard barbecues and sunshine-filled beach days lead way to lightning bugs and firework shows ready to light up the sky. It’s a magical night…but it also can be extremely dangerous.

Fireworks Injuries

In 2013, Americans suffered 14,000 fireworks related injuries (many of which could have been avoided). The most common injuries are burns; typically in the hands, fingers and face, but can also include amputation, hemorrhage, skin tissue damage, abrasions, lacerations, puncture, dermatitis, internal organ injuries, fractures, strains or sprains.

New Jersey Fireworks Law

Believe it or not, possessing fireworks or pyrotechnics is against the law in New Jersey; it is actually considered a misdemeanor offense! Unfortunately, every year, there is a mad rush to Pennsylvania (where it is legal) to buy fireworks, sparklers, bottle rockets and Roman candles…all of which are not permitted in the Garden State.

We highly recommend the prohibition of all fireworks that are not run by professionals, but realize some things are out of your control. In the event that you find yourself at a backyard neighborhood party with fireworks, take these safety tips into consideration from our medical experts at eMedical Urgent Care:

Know Your Fireworks

Always read the cautionary labels and performance descriptions before igniting anything. This should be the first thing you do.

Supervise Children

Never allow children to play with fireworks. This may seem like common sense, but this includes sparklers as well as firecrackers and rockets. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, sparklers can reach temperatures greater than 1000°F which can cause serious burns and ignite clothing. Keep a bucket of water handy in case of unexpected accidents.

Stand Far Way

Avoid close proximity to fireworks. Point the firecracker away from people and buildings and do not hold it while lighting the fuse. And don’t carry them in your pockets…friction could actually cause them to explode!

Douse Duds in Water

Sometimes fireworks fizzle but then sizzle out. Do not attempt to relight the firecracker; it could be unstable and explode at any moment. Instead of picking it up to dispose of it, leave it where it is and douse it in water.

Careful With Clean-Up

Firecrackers can be too hot to handle. Soak each one in water prior to throwing them in the trash to prevent finger burns or a trash fire.

No Appointments Necessary!

Never hesitate to seek medical attention immediately after a fireworks injury. And remember, eMedical provides great care when you need it (open 7 days a week – even 4th of July, without the long waits and expenses) in two locations: Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, and Middletown, New Jersey. Feel better knowing we’re here.