We all know that too much sun exposure can lead to painful sunburn in San Francisco, and sunburns increase the risk of skin damage, cancer and prematurely aged skin.
But overexposure to sun and heat can also lead to other serious problems that interfere with your brain functions, muscles, and other organs. Dr. Marilyn Kutzscher treats many patients each summer for heat-related illnesses in San Francisco. While most people can recover quickly from these illnesses, they can be deadly if not treated properly.
When your body begins to sweat out too much water, salt, potassium, magnesium and other nutrients, you may experience heat exhaustion or heat cramps. Early symptoms that you’ve had too much sun include:
- Excessive sweating
- Leg/stomach/arm cramps
If you do not take measures to cool your body down, you may move into full-on heat stroke/sun stroke after intense heat exposure and dehydration for long periods of time. Symptoms of heat stroke can include the symptoms listed above as well as:
- Lack of sweating
- Rapid heart rate and breath
- High body temperature
- Pale skin
- Dark urine
Prevent Heat Stroke
To avoid heat-related illnesses, listen to your body and be smart when outdoors
- Avoid drinking dehydrating beverages, such as soda, alcohol and coffee. Choose water and sports drinks instead.
- Wear sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat and loose-fitting, lightweight clothing.
- Go indoors during the hottest times of the day.
- Take frequent breaks when working or playing in the heat.
- Avoid over-exertion in the heat.
Heat stroke can be life-threatening. If you see someone who is experiencing the signs of heat stroke in San Francisco, call 911 immediately. Remove the person from the sun/heat and have him drink water or other electrolyte drinks, such as Gatorade. Avoid alcoholic and caffeinated beverages. Remove constrictive clothing and apply ice packs to the groin and armpits to help cool the body.
If you have experienced heat exhaustion, it is important to contact a doctor to make sure it does not progress into heat stroke. A doctor like Dr. Kutzscher can let you know when it is safe to resume your normal activities. Call Marilyn Kutzscher at 415-923-3560 or marilynkmd.com to learn more tips on how to beat the heat in San Francisco this summer.