Stay ahead of heat-related health issues by drinking a lot of water and regularly reapplying sunscreen.

Submitted by Crystal Marcum, CPN Health Services  public health nurse

Beat the heat and sun

• Drink plenty of water, even if you don’t feel thirsty. It is important to stay hydrated and drink more water than usual when it is hot.

• Infants and children up to 4 years old are at the greatest risk for heat-related illnesses. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the best defense for heat-related illnesses is prevention:

• Never leave children, infants or pets in a parked car, even if the windows are open.
• Schedule outdoor activities for the morning or evening hours to avoid the hottest time of the day.
• Stay cool indoors, or seek shade outside.
• Stay cool with cool baths or showers.

Watch for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke

Heat stroke is a medical emergency. Call 911 right away if these signs and symptoms are present:

• High body temperature (103 For higher).
• Hot, red, dry or damp skin.
• Fast, strong pulse.
• Headache, dizziness or nausea.
• Confusion.
• Losing consciousness or passing out.

What to do for heat stroke:

• Move the person to a cooler place and apply cool cloths, or place them in a cool bath to help lower the body temperature.
• Do not give them anything to drink.

Heat exhaustion is when the following signs and symptoms are present:

• Heavy sweating.
• Cold, pale and clammy skin.
• Fast, weak pulse.
• Nausea or vomiting.
• Muscle cramps.
• Tiredness or weakness, dizziness, headache.
• Fainting or passing out.

What to do for heat exhaustion:

• Move this person to a cool place and loosen clothing.
• Apply cool, wet cloths to the body or take a cool bath.
• Sip water.
• Seek medical attention immediately if there is vomiting, or symptoms worsen or last longer than one hour.

Skin cancer awareness

According to the Center for Disease Control, skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. Melanoma is the deadliest type of skin cancer and is caused by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays. Reduce your risk of skin cancer by protecting your skin from the sun this summer and every time you are outside:

• Seek shade, especially during the midday hours.
• Wear clothing and a wide-brimmed hat to protect your skin from exposure to the sun.
• Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen (that covers both UVA and UVB rays) with SPF 15 or higher.
• Reapply sunscreen at least every two hours and after swimming, sweating or toweling off.
• You still need protection from UV rays even if it is a cool and cloudy day. The UV rays are what cause the damage to your skin, not the temperature.

Prevent insect bites and diseases

Keep mosquitoes and ticks from bugging you this summer. Diseases like Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, West Nile Virus and Zika are transmitted by insects:

• Prevent insect bites and diseases by using an effective insect repellant while outdoors.
• Reapply insect repellant every few hours, following the product label instructions.
• Do not spray insect repellant on the skin under clothing.
• Do not use insect repellant on infants younger than 2 months of age.
• Cover baby cribs, strollers and baby carriers with mosquito netting.
• Do not apply insect repellant to a child’s eyes, mouth, hands, or to cut or irritated skin.

Mosquitoes typically lay eggs in and near standing water. Prevent this by weekly emptying, scrubbing, turning over, covering and throwing out items that hold water. Mosquito-proof your home by using screens on windows and doors. Be sure to repair any holes in screens to keep mosquitoes from entering your home.

Check yourself and your family for ticks; they are easy to remove. Below are the steps to remove a tick, as recommended by the CDC:

1. Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.
2. Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk the tick — this can cause the mouthparts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouthparts with tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth easily with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal.
3. After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub or soap and water.
4. Dispose of a live tick by submersing it in alcohol, placing it in a sealed bag or container, wrapping it tightly in tape or flushing it down the toilet. Never crush a tick with your fingers.
5. Avoid folklore remedies such as “painting” the tick with nail polish or petroleum jelly, or using heat to make the tick detach from the skin. Your goal is to remove the tick as
quickly as possible — not waiting for it to detach.