To the editor:
With the advent of summer, there are some seasonal health concerns to remember.
Watch for dehydration. Signs include being very thirsty, muscle cramps, nausea, weakness, headache, feeling dizzy or lightheaded and spots before your eyes. Rest in a cool place. Drink fluids. Sports drinks are best to sip, especially before, during and after exercise. Small mouthfuls are processed better than gulping fluid.
Heat exhaustion signs include dizziness, fatigue, chills, rapid pulse and increased respiration. Rest in a cool, shaded area, drink a sports drink and lie down with legs elevated.
If you or the person you are helping gets no relief then assume heatstroke. Signs include very high core body temperature, altered mental state (confused or unconscious) and collapse. Seek medical attention immediately. Do not drink. Cool by ice packs over as much of the body as possible while waiting for 911 response. You may also cool with wet towels.
Other possible summer hazards:
Petting zoos. To prevent respiratory and gastrointestinal diseases, wash hands after petting animals and before eating and also when your hands are dirty; keep fingers out of your eyes, mouth or nose; don’t kiss the animals; and keep food and drinks away from the animals.
Bites and stings. If a person is having a severe reaction to a sting, call 911. Ask if they have an epi-pen. Prevent bites and stings by covering exposed skin with clothing and avoiding bright colors. Tuck pants into socks. Stay away from areas with weeds and blooming plants. Stay on paths in wooded areas. Pour drinks from cans into cups to avoid insects that may have flown into the can. Try not to be outside at dusk, especially in areas by lakes, ponds, creeks and swamps
Ticks and spiders. Remove ticks by grasping close to the skin with tweezers, pull with a slow steady pressure. Wash your hands and area with soap and water. If you get a tick or spider bite, note the date and contact your physician if you develop a rash or flu-like illness during the next few weeks.
Jennifer Heller Rugenstein, Brown County Health Department
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