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Protect Vulnerable Adults and Children from Heat Related Illnesses this Summer

If illness does occur, doctors at Atrium Health Navicent stand ready to help

As temperatures soar, it is important to remember that children and the elderly are at high risk for heat exhaustion and heat stroke. With central and south Georgia experiencing high temperatures already this summer, Atrium Health Navicent physicians urge individuals of all ages to be mindful of heat-related illnesses that can be prevented with proper caution and care.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 600 people in the United States are killed by extreme heat every year. Heat exhaustion is a severe reaction to heat exposure. Signs include weakness, dizziness, nausea, headache, and finally, collapse. The skin becomes cold and clammy while pupils dilate, and body temperature and blood pressure become lower. Heat exhaustion can progress to heat stroke, a life-threatening condition if the body is unable to cool itself. The person may become confused and lethargic, the body ceases to sweat, body temperature will rise rapidly, and seizure may occur.

Physicians at Atrium Health Navicent offer these tips to prevent heat related illnesses:

• Remain indoors during the hottest parts of the day, generally 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

• Stay hydrated by drinking water and sports drinks that replace electrolytes.

• Wear proper clothing in the heat.

• Reduce outdoor exercise during high temperatures, and consider exercising during the early morning when temperatures are cooler.

• Wear sunscreen to prevent sunburns, which can raise body temperature.

• Don’t leave children or the elderly unattended in hot cars, even for short periods of time.

“Summer is a fun time to be outdoors, but high temperatures can present a danger, especially for children and the elderly. Be aware of the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, and how to prevent these potentially life-threatening illnesses,” said Dr. John Wood, Atrium Health Navicent The Medical Center’s emergency center medical director.

If heat-related illness does occur, seek appropriate medical treatment. For emergency situations, call 911 or seek care at the nearest emergency center. Atrium Health Navicent offers emergency care at the following locations:

• Atrium Health Navicent The Medical Center (770 Pine St., Macon)

• Atrium Health Navicent Beverly Knight Olson Children's Hospital (888 Pine St., Macon)

• Atrium Health Navicent Peach (1960 Hwy 247 Connector, Byron)

• Atrium Health Navicent Baldwin (821 North Cobb St., Milledgeville)

• Monroe County Hospital, Atrium Health Navicent Partner (88 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Forsyth)

• Putnam General Hospital, Atrium Health Navicent Partner (101 Greensboro Road, Eatonton)

For non-life-threatening injuries, visit your nearest urgent care provider. Atrium Health Navicent provides urgent care at three Macon locations.

• Atrium Health Navicent Urgent Care North (3400 Riverside Drive, Macon)

• Atrium Health Navicent Urgent Care East (1339 Gray Highway, Macon)

• Atrium Health Navicent Urgent Care Northwest (5925 Zebulon Road, Macon)

About Atrium Health Navicent

Atrium Health Navicent is the leading provider of healthcare in central and south Georgia and is committed to its mission of elevating health and wellbeing through compassionate care. Atrium Health Navicent provides high-quality, personalized care in 53 specialties at more than 50 facilities throughout the region. As part of the largest, integrated, nonprofit health system in the Southeast, it is also able to tap into some of the nation’s leading medical experts and specialists with Atrium Health, allowing it to provide the best care close to home – including advanced innovations in virtual medicine and care. Throughout its 125-year history in the community, Atrium Health Navicent has remained dedicated to enhancing health and wellness for individuals throughout the region through nationally recognized quality care, community health initiatives, and collaborative partnerships. It is also one of the leading teaching hospitals in the region, helping to ensure viability for rural health care for the next generation. For more information, please visit www.NavicentHealth.org.