Heat stroke, fire ants, and food poisoning…
Prevent and Treat Three Summer Ailments In Houston and Southeast Texas
Summer comes early here in the Houston area. With each summer comes several common and avoidable illnesses that can ruin a vacation,
a long weekend or any type of summer fun. Well known and respected Houston area neurologist and founder of the Houston Healthcare Initiative CO-OP, Dr. Steven Goldstein has this news for those who listen to his weekly podcast which is available from: iTunes, Soundcloud, or the CO-OP web site www.houstonhealthcareinitiative.org.
Summer Heat Exhaustion
Known as heat stroke, sun stroke or heat exhaustion, getting overheated in the Houston area is a common ailment, as so many people work and play outside in the extreme temperatures. “People whose work requires they be outside, or for those who like to jog, play golf or even mow the lawn when it’s hot, dehydration and heatstroke are often seen together,” Dr. Goldstein told his listeners. “To avoid dehydration that can lead to heat exhaustion, drink lots of water or water combined with beverages that contain electrolytes like Gatorade. A good rule to follow is to drink a 50-50 mix of these two for every hour you are outdoors.”
Summer Dehydration Symptoms and Treatment
According to Dr. Goldstein, the symptoms of dehydration can run from feeling thirsty to fatigue, headache and nausea. More serious symptoms from a headache are confusion and really serious indicators are delirium and even hallucinations. Really bad heat-strokes can cause the kidneys to shut down. If someone is working on an elevated space, like so many petrochemical plant workers do, operating heavy machinery, or driving a car or truck can lead to much more serious accidents and injuries.
According to Dr. Goldstein, mild dehydration can be treated by rehydrating. “Just drink some water, Gatorade or both and stay out of the heat for a while,” Dr. Goldstein said. “Heatstroke is more serious. If you have heatstroke, you need to go to the emergency room so you can have intravenous fluids and observation to make certain it is not more serious.”
The Danger of Fire Ants
Few things go together like picnics and ants. But the ants here are much worse than most because they are not native, and the way they bite and sting. “Red or fire ants are especially bad because they signal each other via pheromones that an intruder is present, and they sting all at once,” Dr. Goldstein said. “They have a unique and much more painful way of biting as they first bite, then grip the victim and then sting.
Fire ant stings have poisonous venom that will cause raised welts and will itch and sting for several days.” Dr. Goldstein also described how these insects could really be dangerous to pets, and small children. He advised that children be kept from sitting or laying on the ground and emphasized this for infants especially. “We’ve all seen the big ant hills, and of course avoiding them is always the right thing to do. But some are hidden from site, so for those of any age, be mindful and aware of this hazard.” Treating ant stings is usually as easy as applying triple antibiotic or cortisone cream. But those who are allergic or suffer many stings should go to the emergency room where more serious symptoms like anaphylaxis can be treated.
Food poisoning cases increase in summer because higher temperatures cause microorganisms to multiply faster when it’s hot. Plus, preparing food outdoors makes safe food handling more difficult. “The symptoms of food poisoning are well known,” Dr. Goldstein stated. “Diarrhea, vomiting, flu-like symptoms, or any combination of these indicate the possibility of food poisoning.” Dr. Goldstein also said that, for this ailment in particular, prevention is the best medicine. “If there is any doubt that something may have been at too high a temperature for too long, avoid it. However, if despite everything, you still come down with this, it is important to stay hydrated. To get the best and most appropriate treatment, consult a doctor. He or she can prescribe medicine to help control nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.”
About Houston Healthcare Initiative CO-OP
Awareness that leads to action and in this case prevention, is key. But if despite all those positive actions, you still need to talk to a doctor and fast, people can join the Houston Healthcare Initiative CO-OP and use the doctor’s hotline. The Houston Healthcare Initiative CO-OP is offering a three-month, $45.00 trial offer that includes the use of the hotline for consultation, and even prescribed treatments. The place to learn all about this and more is at the CO-OP web site which is www.houstonhealthcareinitiative.org.