Holy Family august

Courtney Johnson, APP, is a physician assistant at the Froedtert & MCW Sheboygan Taylor Clinic at 1414 North Taylor Drive. Johnson sees patients for primary care and family medicine services.

Outdoor activities can be the highlight of summertime fun, but there are days when it is too hot to safely be outside without risking heat-related illnesses. According to Wisconsin Emergency Management, summer heat waves are the biggest weather-related killers in the state, surpassing deaths caused by tornadoes and storms. Knowing the warning signs, what to do and where to seek treatment can keep your family happy and healthy.

1. Dehydration

Dehydration can be a serious concern for anyone spending time in the heat, particularly people who work outdoors, children and the elderly. It can be tough to know when we are dehydrated because we might not necessarily feel thirsty. Dehydration occurs when the body loses more fluid than it takes in and is usually caused by not drinking enough water to replace what is lost. The body sweats as a cooling mechanism, so water and electrolytes are lost at a faster rate in the heat. This is why it is important to increase water consumption on a hot day. One common misconception is that you have to sweat in order to be dehydrated. This isn’t true — when you’re dehydrated, you’re lacking the fluid to produce normal amounts of sweat.

Dehydration symptoms include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Thirst
  • Fatigue
  • Decreased urine or darker urine
  • Headache
  • Dizziness

Where to get care:

Mild dehydration symptoms can be self-treated by drinking cold water and resting. Severe dehydration symptoms, such as confusion or slurred speech, or persistent milder symptoms, should be treated by a medical professional. Walk-in care or same-day appointments are available through Froedtert & MCW FastCare® locations. The FastCare Clinic in Sheboygan is located inside the Sheboygan Meijer at 924 N. Taylor Drive. You can also get same-day care when you are established with a primary care provider.

2. Sunburn

The skin is the body’s largest organ and acts as a protector for the muscles and organs, but without protection from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays, skin can burn. A sunburn is red skin that is sore to the touch and feels warm. Skin cancer, or melanoma, is the most prevalent of all cancers, and sunburn is its most preventable risk factor. Sunburns usually take several hours to appear after UV exposure, but if the skin is turning pink or red, move into the shade or go indoors.

To prevent sunburn:

  • Use sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher. Apply the sunscreen liberally to all exposed skin 15 minutes before going into the sun and reapply repeatedly, at least every two hours. Reapplication of sunscreen is a frequently missed step in sun protection.
  • Seek shade.
  • Wear protective clothing, such as long-sleeved pants, skirts and shirts, sunglasses, hats.

Where to get care:

Sunburns can be treated at home using cold compresses, aloe vera gel and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication. However, if the sunburn causes blisters, seek treatment at an urgent care clinic because open wounds may become infected. If the burn is accompanied by severe headache, confusion, slurred speech or other neurological symptoms, you should go to the nearest emergency department or call 911.

3. Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are both caused by overexposure to hot temperatures, often following strenuous physical activity. Heat exhaustion is a precursor to heat stroke, and it is important to notice symptoms early to prevent progression.

Heat exhaustion symptoms include:

  • A rapid pulse
  • Muscle cramps
  • Excessive sweating
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Headache

Where to get care:

At the first sign of any heat exhaustion symptoms, move to a cool place, drink water and rest. If symptoms do not improve within an hour, consider same-day care, either at a FastCare location or through your primary care provider.

4. Heat stroke

Heat stroke occurs when the body’s temperature is at 104°F or higher. Initial symptoms are the same as heat exhaustion, but they persist or worsen. Heat stroke is dangerous because the body’s natural temperature regulation mechanisms are overwhelmed and organs are susceptible to damage due to the elevated temperature and lack of fluid.

Where to get care:

If you think you or someone you know is experiencing heat stroke, it is important to seek emergency care immediately. Loss of consciousness, confusion, seizures or shortness of breath are all signs to call 911.

To learn more about providers in the Sheboygan area, visit froedtert.com/Sheboygan or call (920) 476-6300.

Holy Family Memorial is part of the Sheboygan Sun’s Preferred Business Sponsor program.

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Email questions to tjones@orourkemediagroup.com.

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