Eskenazi Health-offers-helpful-tips-to-avoid-serious-heat-related-illnesses

Indianapolis, June 13, 2022–The latest weather forecasts indicate temperatures in the high-90s are arriving soon and Eskenazi Health emergency physicians have several suggestions designed to help keep you cool and comfortable during this difficult time.

Dangerous heat strokes are all too common when it gets unusually hot outside, and they occur when the body can no longer control its temperature. During brutally hot conditions, the body’s temperature rises rapidly, the sweating mechanism fails, and the body is unable to cool down. When heat stroke occurs, the body temperature can rise to 106°F or higher within 10 to 15 minutes. Heat stroke can cause permanent disability or death if the person does not receive emergency treatment.

Heat strokes can be prevented by avoiding long exposure to the sun, especially from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., which is the hottest period of the day. Spending too much time in sweltering heat and humidity, along with dehydration, may create an extremely hazardous situation.

“Preparation is vitally important in avoiding heat stroke in dangerously hot temperatures, and doing all you can to keep your body’s core temperature at a normal level is always advisable in these dangerous conditions,” said Dr. Tyler Stepsis, medical director of the Michael & Susan Smith Emergency Department at Eskenazi Health. “Whenever you can, be sure to check in with those you know who are elderly, young children and infants who are especially predisposed to having a dangerous reaction leading to heat stroke in conditions with high temperatures and stifling humidity.”

Here are some helpful tips to avoid heat stroke and heat exhaustion:

  • Drink more water than usual, and don’t wait until you’re thirsty.
  • Never leave children or pets in a parked car. Leave pets plenty of water in shade.
  • Use sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher and wear light-colored clothing.
  • Pace yourself while working or exercising in hot weather.
  • If it’s too hot in your home, take a cool bath or shower.
  • If you don’t have air conditioning, go to the mall or library, or find a cooling shelter.
  • Monitor those more likely to become ill from the heat: babies, young children, and older adults.
  • Check your local news for extreme heat alerts and safety tips.
Dr. Stepsis said symptoms leading to heat exhaustion include a lack of strength and energy, dizziness, nausea/vomiting, heavy sweating, pale and/or clammy skin, a weak pulse, muscle cramps, and fainting. Heat stroke symptoms include an altered state and any of the following symptoms: throbbing headache, confusion, nausea, dizziness, shallow breathing, body temperature above 103° F, hot, red, dry or moist skin, rapid and strong pulse, fainting and losing consciousness.

If you or someone you’re with begins to experience heat stroke symptoms, seek medical attention immediately by calling 911. Get to a cool, shaded place, remove unnecessary clothing, cool the body by spraying it with cool water and hydrate.

Dr. Stepsis emphasizes that the coronavirus pandemic is still with us, so when you go indoors, particularly in a public location, always wear a mask and continue to observe social distancing. He also wants everyone to remember that hand hygiene remains vitally important. 

The Michael & Susan Smith Emergency Department is one of the busiest emergency departments in the state, treating more than 100,000 patients each year. For more information, please visit

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