Preventing heat-related illnesses

July 5, 2010 2:26:24 PM PDT
Plenty of people were enjoying their day out in the sun, but doctors are concerned about heat related illnesses.

The oppressive heat didn't melt any of the trash talking on the court at Christopher Morley Park Monday, where a number of people were playing basketball despite the heat.

One group of friends there have been playing on weekends and holidays for decades.

"These guys are pretty tough warriors these guys are the epitome of weekend warriors," said Bobby Anastasia.

But if they aren't careful, they might just end up at Long Island Jewish Medical Center where the ac works just fine in the emergency room.

Dr. Sal Pardo says guys like Anastasia aren't necessarily as tough as they think they are, and they're actually pretty vulnerable to the blistering heat.

"Your weekend warriors who are just kind of going at it for six hours at a time because they have the time for the holiday, they have to be very careful," said Dr. Pardo.

Pardo says the symptoms of heat-related illness are unmistakable. The key warning signs are sudden high fever, nausea or vomiting, headache, lethargy and confusion.

But back on the court, the guys were toughing it out with no shortage of water or bravado.

Some Tips from the CDC

  • Drink more fluids (nonalcoholic), regardless of your activity level. Don't wait until you're thirsty to drink. Warning: If your doctor generally limits the amount of fluid you drink or has you on water pills, ask him how much you should drink while the weather is hot.
  • Don't drink liquids that contain alcohol or large amounts of sugar?these actually cause you to lose more body fluid. Also, avoid very cold drinks, because they can cause stomach cramps.
  • Stay indoors and, if at all possible, stay in an air-conditioned place. If your home does not have air conditioning, go to the shopping mall or public library?even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat. Call your local health department to see if there are any heat-relief shelters in your area.
  • Electric fans may provide comfort, but when the temperature is in the high 90s, fans will not prevent heat-related illness. Taking a cool shower or bath, or moving to an air-conditioned place is a much better way to cool off.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
  • NEVER leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle.