The summer months are a busy time for trauma centers, mostly because people are more active and kids are occasionally left unsupervised. Injuries run the gamut from pool accidents to burns. Warm weather brings people outside, but occasionally what they do outside brings them into ER.
The biggest risk is not fully appreciating how serious the combination of high temperature and high humidity can be, Dr. Douglas Kupas, ER and EMS Physician at Geisinger, says. Overall, the most common and serious problems for which people end up in the ER are heat exhaustion and dehydration, he adds.
People think that because they are around water they don’t need to drink as much water. But this is a dangerous myth. “The risk for dehydration and heat exhaustion is the same,” Dr. Kupas says.
You have to pay attention to what you do and be prepared. Common sense is your best chance of preventing possible trips to the ER, he adds. “Don’t golf at noon if it’s hot and humid, do it at 7 a.m. or 7 p.m.; find shade and stay out of the heat.”
Many patients say, after everything is over: “I know better than this, but took a shortcut,” Dr. Kupas says. It is not worth it if you can end up in a hospital or disable for the rest of your life. “We want people to be out and active, but they just have to use common sense. We’d see a lot fewer patients.”
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