Steven Doerr, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Doerr received his undergraduate degree in Spanish from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He graduated with his Medical Degree from the University Of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver, Colorado in 1998 and completed his residency training in Emergency Medicine from Denver Health Medical Center in Denver, Colorado in 2002, where he also served as Chief Resident.
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
Treatment for heat-related illness generally includes moving the
individual out of the hot environment, implementing cooling measures as
needed, rest, and rehydration.
Prevention of heat-related illness is best accomplished through proper
planning and preparation, such as increasing fluid intake, wearing
appropriate clothing and
sunscreen, remaining in a cool environment,
acclimating yourself to the hot environment, and using common sense.
A heat-related illness is a medical condition that may occur as a result of heat exposure. Even short periods of high temperatures can cause serious health problems. Heat-related illness encompasses a spectrum of conditions that range from minor illnesses to life-threatening medical emergencies. There are several heat-related illnesses, including heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps, heat syncope (fainting), and heat rash.
Summer can bring heat waves with unusually high temperatures that can last for days and sometimes weeks. According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 8,015 death due to heat-related illness in the United States from 1979-2003, or an average of approximately 334 death per year. Heat waves lead to more deaths annually in the United States than tornadoes,
earthquakes, floods, and
hurricanes combined. In the summer of 1980, a severe heat wave hit the United States, and approximately 1,700 people lost their lives from heat-related illness. Likewise, in the summer of 2003, tens of thousands of people died in Europe from an extreme heat wave. Most recently, the summer of 2012 heat wave in the United States has already led to many heat-related deaths, and numerous all-time high temperature records have been broken throughout the United States. High temperatures put people at risk.
Reviewed by William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR on 8/1/2012
Medical Author: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Medical Editor: William C. Shiel, Jr, MD, FACP, FACR
During a heat wave, it's important to know and be able to
recognize the signs and symptoms of a heat-related illness. There are different
types of heat-related illnesses, ranging from those that cause temporary
discomfort to the generally fatal condition known as heat stroke. In all
illnesses, the symptoms appear when a person is exposed to extreme temperatures.
The following checklist can help you recognize the symptoms of heat-related
Heat Rash: Heat rash is a
skin irritation caused by excessive sweating during hot, humid weather. It can
occur at any age but is most common in young children. Heat rash looks like a
red cluster of pimples or
Heat cramps: A person who has
been exercising or participating in other types of strenuous activity in the
heat may develop painful muscle spasms
in the arms, legs, or abdomen referred to as
heat cramps. The body
temperature is usually normal, and the skin will feel moist and cool, but
Heat syncope: Someone who
experiences heat syncope (fainting) will experience the sudden onset of
dizziness or fainting
after exposure to high temperatures, particularly after exercising in the
heat. As with heat cramps, the skin is pale and sweaty but remains cool. The
pulse may be weakened, and the heart rate is usually rapid. Body temperature is normal.
First aid is the assistance given to an injured or sick
person in need of urgent medical assistance. First aid applies to a broad range
of medical situations and consists both of specific knowledge "...