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Lutheran is an award winning, state-recognized Level I Trauma Center and Stroke Center

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July 06, 2007, Brooklyn, New York…As temperatures soar into the 90s Lutheran Medical Center's Emergency Department is urging Brooklyn residents to take precautions against extreme heat. Every year hundreds of people become sick from heat-related causes, all of which are preventable. "People, even those in great shape, don't recognize the seriousness of heat-related symptoms," says Bonnie Simmons, D.O., F.A.C.E.P., Emergency Department chair and medical director. "Everyone is at risk when temperatures rise. Heat-related illnesses can cause serious injury and even death if unattended."

  • Dress for the heat. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing. Light colors will reflect away some of the sun's energy. It is also a good idea to wear hats or to use an umbrella. 
  • Drink water. Carry water or juice and drink even if you are not thirsty. Avoid alcohol and caffeine, which dehydrate the body.
  • Eat small meals and eat more often. Avoid high-protein foods, which increase metabolic heat.
  • Avoid strenuous activity. If you must do strenuous activity, do it during the coolest part of the day, which is usually in the morning between 4:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m.
  • Be a good neighbor. During heat waves, check in on elderly residents in your neighborhood and those who do not have air conditioning.
  • Stay indoors when possible. Cooling centers around the five boroughs are opened when the heat index is predicted to be dangerously high. To find the center nearest you, call 311 or visit

Know heat-related terms and how to care for heat emergencies (cool the body; give fluids; minimize shock):

  • Heat exhaustion: Heat exhaustion typically occurs when people exercise heavily or work in a warm, humid place where body fluids are lost through heavy sweating. Fluid loss causes blood flow to decrease in the vital organs, resulting in a form of shock. Signals include cool, moist, pale or flushed skin; heavy sweating; headache; nausea or vomiting; dizziness; and exhaustion. Body temperature will be near normal. Get the person to a cooler place and give them half a glass of cool water every 15 minutes. Do not give liquids with alcohol or caffeine in them. 
  • Heat stroke/sunstroke: Heat stroke is life threatening. Call 911 or your local EMS number. Move the person to a cooler place. Quickly cool the body. During heat stroke the victim's temperature control system, which produces sweating to cool the body, stops working. The body temperature can rise so high that brain damage and death may result if the body is not cooled quickly. Signals include hot, red and dry skin; changes in consciousness; rapid, weak pulse; and rapid, shallow breathing. If you have ice packs or cold packs, wrap them in a cloth and place them on each of the victim's wrists and ankles, in the armpits and on the neck to cool the large blood vessels. (Do not use rubbing alcohol because it closes the skin's pores and prevents heat loss.) Watch for signals of breathing problems and make sure the airway is clear. Keep the person lying down.

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