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ER physician explains signs, symptoms of heat exhaustion and dehydration

6/22/2011 1:00:00 AM


Excessive heat advisories in summer months lead to increased heat-related illnesses


PHOENIX (June, 22, 2011) – With summer temperatures soaring to 110 degrees and higher in the Valley, it is important that people are aware of signs and symptoms of dehydration and heat exhaustion which, if not treated properly, could lead to very serious and dangerous outcomes. Dr. Andrew Garff, medical director of the Emergency Department at Paradise Valley Hospital, shares tips on avoiding heat-related illnesses and when to seek medical help.


Signs and Symptoms:

  • The first signs of heat-illness include cramps, headache, nausea, and feeling thirsty. Get indoors to a cooler environment, rest, and replenish electrolytes
  • If you experience fainting, go to ER for an evaluation
  • Heat stroke involves a body temperature greater than 105.8, blood pressure can be low; a person may feel confused or not be sweating
  • Patients who are more at risk include infants, elderly, drug users, psychiatric patients, obese population, those with poor fitness, those taking certain medications such as beta-blockers, diuretics, anticholinergics and antidepressants


Tips on Staying Safe:

  • Be aware if you or a loved one falls is categorized as an at risk person for heat-illness 
  • Avoid the most intense heat of day during the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. 
  • Hydrate well with electrolyte solutions if you have to be outside 
  • Be aware of early heat-illness symptoms and get out of heat, go indoors and drink fluids 
  • Never leave children or a pet in the car 
  • Avoid skin contact on black asphalt as exposure to second and third degree burns can happen quickly
  • Do NOT cool loved one in bath at home, you could accidentally cause hypothermia
  • Shivering is your body’s way to cool off. Do not apply blankets as this can increase temperature


This information is contained in this document and included in our website is intended to provide general information to educate people about programs and services, which may be available through our hospitals. The information is not intended to provide medical advice nor should the information be used to attempt to determine the presence, absence or severity of any illness or medical condition which may be perceived or experienced by an individual. If you have or suspect you may have an illness or condition which you believe requires medical attention, we recommend you call your primary care physician. If you believe you are experiencing a medical emergency please call "911" (or your local medical emergency number) or seek immediate care from the nearest hospital Emergency Department. The provision of information is not intended as an inducement or to otherwise influence a person's decision to order or receive any item or service from a particular provider, practitioner or supplier that is reimbursable under Medicare, a state healthcare program (e.g., AHCCS) or any other healthcare plan.

Physicians are members of the medical staff at each facility, but are independent contractors who are neither employees nor agents of Abrazo Health Care; and, as a result, Abrazo Health Care is not responsible for the actions of any of these physicians in their medical practices.


About Abrazo Health Care

As the second largest health care delivery system in Arizona, Abrazo Health Care is committed to providing excellent medical care to the residents of Maricopa County. The Abrazo system includes five acute care hospitals: Arrowhead Hospital, Maryvale Hospital, Paradise Valley Hospital, Phoenix Baptist Hospital and West Valley Hospital; and one specialized cardiovascular hospital, Arizona Heart Hospital; with a combined 1,027 licensed beds. In addition the system consists of two health plans: Phoenix Health Plan, and Abrazo Advantage, serving nine counties in the state; School-Based Health Centers; and Abrazo Medical Group with 70 employed physicians in 19 Valley locations. Visit www.abrazohealth.com for more information.




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