Summertime Illness

Heat Related Conditions

Summertime in Maryland brings families, friends, and employees into the Maryland outdoors.  April thru October represents a time of celebration for families and friends and a time for increased productivity outdoors for much of the Baltimore/Washington international working community.

However, heat related illnesses ranging from heat edema to exercise associated muscle cramps to exercise associated collapse, heat exhaustion and life threatening heat stroke are common.

Patients, families and employers are often slow to recognize and begin treatment to prevent injury from these heat related illnesses.  Proper recognition and timely treatment are effective in preventing bad outcomes including death.

Management of heat edema and exercise associated muscle cramps is largely supportive and requires replacement of fluids and electrolytes.  Treatment is frequently complete without complications or side effects.

However, heat exhaustion is characterized by cardiovascular collapse with a core body temperature of up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit with central nervous system dysfunction.  Cooling, rest and hydration again are the central principles of recovery and must be provided quickly in order to avert permanent damage including death.

Heat stroke is a true medical emergency and immediate cooling with ice water or cool/water emersion is required.

Heat related illness is largely preventable by taking appropriate precautions prior to relaxing outdoors and/or pursuing employment outdoors.

Call Sollay Medical Center, 410-644-7655, today for consultation learning preventive measures that you and your family can take to prevent heat related illness.  Additionally, if you have experienced heat related signs or symptoms call today for an appointment to review your signs and symptoms and treatment that can still result in your complete recovery.

Respectfully submitted,
Terrance L. Baker, MD, MS

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