LANSING – As temperatures and humidity levels combine to spike heat indices nearing triple digits across Michigan this week, Michigan State Medical Society President Kenneth Elmassian, DO, and physicians across the state remind families of several simple tips to help beat the summer heat and avoid heat related illness and injury.
Exposure to extreme temperatures can cause dehydration and other serious and potentially life-threatening health problems, especially in infants, children and senior citizens.
“Every year, thousands of Michigan residents suffer from heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke, but they don’t have to,” said Elmassian. “The weather in Michigan may be unpredictable but we know our summers are going to be hot. Simple steps like drinking lots of water, staying out of the sun and checking in on our friends and family members who do not have air conditioning can cut down on hospital visits and save lives.”
Simple tips to help seniors and families avoid heat stroke and heat related illness include:
- Drink plenty of fluids each day, especially when it is hot outside and during outdoor activities;
- Drink water and sports drinks on hot days and avoid beverages with alcohol and caffeine as these lead to dehydration;
- Wear wide-brimmed hats and light colored, lightweight, loose-fitting clothing on hot days;
- Try to spend as much time indoors in air-conditioned areas as possible on hot and humid days;
- If you do not have air-conditioning at home, consider spending the day at the library, school, movie theater or community center. Otherwise, since heat rises, stay on the lowest floor possible and out of the sunshine;
- During outdoor activities, make sure to rest in shady or cool areas;
- Wear sunscreen (at least SPF 15) to avoid sunburn;
- Never leave any person or pet alone in a closed car or other vehicle;
- Make sure your pets have lots of water; and
- Call or check in regularly on friends and loved ones who do not have air conditioning.
The Michigan State Medical Society is a professional association of more than 15,000 Michigan physicians. Its mission is to promote a health care environment which supports physicians in caring for, and enhancing the health of Michigan citizens through science, quality, and ethics in the practice of medicine.