Fourth of July is tomorrow and celebrations will be in full swing over the weekend. While this is a holiday most Americans look forward to each year, it is also a time when doctors’ offices, urgent cares and emergency departments see an influx of patients who are either dehydrated, experiencing heat-related illness or severely sunburnt, often due to celebrating in excess.
Because dehydration and heat-related illness can become extremely serious situations, it is important to be aware of the signs of these conditions. Signs of dehydration include headache, increased thirst, fatigue, dizziness, and decreased urine output or urine that is more yellow than normal. Heat exhaustion often presents with similar symptoms of dehydration, as well as rapid heart rate, excessive sweating, nausea, vomiting and confusion.
There are several things we can do to prevent potentially dangerous health emergencies and to be sure to enjoy the Fourth of July holiday weekend. First and foremost, drink plenty of water! Be sure to apply sunscreen (at least SPF 30) thirty minutes before heading outside and continue to re-apply frequently throughout the day. Try to stay cool by seeking shade or going for a swim if you’re spending the weekend near a body of water. If you plan to drink alcohol, do so in moderation. Too much alcohol consumption can lead to dehydration and many other severe health conditions. Keep an extra eye on young children and elderly adults at the holiday festivities, as they are especially vulnerable to developing heat-related illness.
If you or someone around starts showing signs of dehydration, heat-related illness or severe sunburn, it is important to seek medical attention right away. Cone Health has an exceptional network of primary care and urgent care facilities, as well as emergency departments located throughout the community ready to treat urgent situations around the clock. To find one near you, visit http://www.conehealth.com/locations/.
Dr. Padonda Campbell is a family nurse practitioner at LeBauer HealthCare at Brassfield and a member of the Cone Health Medical Group. Dr. Campbell received a Bachelor of Science in nursing from North Carolina A&T University in 2003. She received a Master of Science in nursing and family nurse practitioner (FNP) from Winston Salem State University in 2006 and a Doctor of Nursing Practice from the University of South Alabama in 2012.