Ways to avoid hospital visits due to heat

Record heat comes to California

The first day of summer began on June 20 and the heat is only expected to increase this summer.

Some questions have risen about the heat potentially increasing hospital visits.

The short answer is it depends on who you ask.

Nick Sawyer, MD for the UC Davis Department of Emergency Medicine, says that in any situation like this they're going to see an increase of patients. But it hasn't been that much compared to previous years.

"We've seen a few cases, but that's it," said Sawyer. "It's hard to say for a single provider."

He believes the information provided by the hospital and other outlets has tremendously assisted in that cause.

"What I'm noticing from this year and last year compared to other years [is] there's more help on behalf of getting the right information out there," said Sawyer. "Which is great."

There are symptoms and tips to be aware of so you, your kids, family or friends avoid the hospital.

Drink water. Drink Water. And drink more water.

Drinking water could not be stressed enough and that's been a consensus thought during this heat wave, but it can be tough. Some people either forget or don't like drinking water, but Sawyer thinks there are ways to combat the feeling.

"A lot of people don't like water," he said. "[Which is why] I recommend lemon water, put cucumber in your water or a slice of orange. Whatever it takes to drink the water."

One of the biggest things he wants people to know is the difference between heat exhaustion and stroke - importance of the signs.

"For heat exhaustion, you want to drink plenty of water and stay away from things that have caffeine in it or alcohol," he said.

If someone is dealing with heat stroke, he suggests to call 911 immediately and during that waiting period you actually don't want to give the person water because if they drink the water, then they can potentially vomit.

Changes in mental status, pale dry skin and vomiting are very concerning issues.

So, what happens if you must go to the hospital?

"What we do when we cool somebody off, we will actually spray water on them and put a fan on them," said Sawyer.

They have people wear shorts, a tank top or shirt and sit in front of a fan to get cool. The fan blows heat radiating off their skin, so it's great to own a fan even if there's an air conditioner around, says Sawyer.

Taking a damp wash cloth to wipe down your skin or using an active cooling blanket are other alternatives, too.

These actions are a process that Sawyer feels shouldn't just be used at the hospital but at home, which can prevent an emergency from occurring.

© 2017 KXTV-TV


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