With the arrival of hot weather there is also the potential of heat-related illness. There is a wide range of potential problems, including muscle cramps, swelling of hand and feet, dehydration, fainting, and full blown heat stroke. These problems can affect people of all ages, and those who are otherwise in excellent health, although individuals with underlying medical conditions are more susceptible. Young children, the elderly, and people on certain medications are particularly at risk.

Precautions to avoid illness include avoiding prolonged exposure, especially excessive outdoor activity and, of course, maintain adequate and frequent fluid intake, as well as avoidance of caffeine and alcohol.

In addition to the heat effects of the sun, the direct exposure to the ultraviolet rays themselves can obviously cause damage to the exposed skin. Sunburn of various degrees can occur, particularly in fair skinned individuals, even with exposure of an hour or two. Precaution should be taken by using sunblock and/or keeping exposed areas covered.

If exposure to the heat and sun results in symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, dizziness, rash, soreness, swelling, or excessive skin burn, you should consult your physician or visit your nearest urgent care facility as soon as possible.

Our physicians at AFC Urgent Care Waltham can treat heat-related illness and sun exposure every day from 8am to 8pm. No appointment or referral is needed.

Please feel free to register online to save some time before your visit.

By Dr. Gary Blair