Seek Immediate Attention for Heat Exhaustion, Injuries and Stings
For many people, summer is their favorite season as they spend as much time as possible outdoors. Unfortunately, all that time outside can sometimes cause medical problems, including some requiring a trip to the emergency department.
The most common summer-related trips to the emergency room include heat exhaustion, bee or wasp stings, head injuries and injuries caused by falls, according to ThedaCare Medical Center-Waupaca emergency medicine physicians Robin Purdy, DO, and Sarah Holets, DO. The two work with Dale Bertram, MD; Francesca DeTrana, DO, and Priscilla George, MD, in the Waupaca emergency room.
Dr. Purdy said people need to be aware of the signs related to heat exhaustion, including body temperature above 100 degrees, fainting, nausea or vomiting, muscle cramping, rapid breathing or rapid pulse, confusion or disorientation and weakness. “Too much heat and not enough water can cause your body to overheat,” he said. “Excess heat can lead to heat exhaustion and heatstroke, which can be deadly since the body’s organs begin to shut down.”
Dr. Holets said as temperatures heat up, it is important for people to stay cool and hydrated. “It is vital to treat heat-related illnesses as soon as possible so don’t wait and head to the emergency department,” she said.
Bee and wasp stings are another reason some people end up in the emergency room during the summer, said Dr. Purdy. Everyone reacts differently to bee and wasp stings with some people not experiencing much of a reaction while others may have a life-threatening allergic reaction, he explained. “Most of the times, there is not much to worry about,” Dr. Purdy said. “But if you start having problems breathing, your throat or tongue begin to swell, have nausea, get dizzy or feel faint, call 911 or get to the ER as soon as possible.”
As people become more active outside, physical injuries, such as falls, are more common. Falls are the No. 1 reason people visit the emergency department, Dr. Holets said. The most common dangers include playgrounds, ladders and trampolines. “Most of the time, the bumps and bruises are nothing to worry about. If someone hits his head, you need to keep an eye out for signs of concussion,” she said.
Concussion symptoms include a headache, stiff neck, sleepiness, vomiting or the person has problems thinking straight. Dr. Purdy said if someone has those symptoms or loss of consciousness, take them to the emergency room to be evaluated.
If someone falls and you suspect a broken bone – he has intense pain, there is loss of movement or there is swelling or bruising over the bone – visit the emergency department for evaluation, Dr. Holets said.
“When someone breaks a bone, it is important to have it set as quickly as possible,” she said.
For more than 100 years, ThedaCare™ has been committed to finding a better way to deliver serious and complex healthcare to patients throughout Northeast Wisconsin. The organization serves over 200,000 patients annually and employs more than 6,800 healthcare professionals throughout the region. ThedaCare has seven hospitals located in Appleton, Neenah, Berlin, Waupaca, Shawano, New London and Wild Rose as well as 32 clinics in nine counties. ThedaCare is the first in Wisconsin to be a Mayo Clinic Care Network Member, giving our specialists the ability to consult with Mayo Clinic experts on a patient’s care. ThedaCare is a non-profit healthcare organization with a level II trauma center, comprehensive cancer treatment, stroke and cardiac programs as well as a foundation dedicated to community service. The ThedaCare Regional Cancer Center in Appleton opened in February 2016. For more information, visit www.thedacare.org or follow ThedaCare on Facebook and Twitter.