Beat the heat this Fourth of July with these proactive steps

By: Sean K. Thompson
| Published 06/30/2023


THE WOODLANDS, TX – Heat is the number one weather-related killer in the U.S., and 55 million Americans are under heat advisories. This holiday week carries other risks too: fireworks injuries have increased 25 percent over the last 15 years.

Memorial Hermann health expert has some hot tips for the hotter holiday weather

Memorial Hermann-GoHealth Urgent Care’s Lead Nurse Practitioner, Peter Dagher, has some tips for Independence Week revelers, starting with the most basic question: if something goes wrong, where should I go?

“The difference between urgent care, emergency rooms and critical care is the severity of the health problem,” said Peter. “Urgent care centers like Memorial Hermann-GoHealth Urgent Care’s The Woodlands locations are perfect for most non-emergency situations like sprains, earaches or mild asthma. Emergency rooms are for life-threatening conditions. Go straight to the nearest ER if you have conditions such as chest pain, difficulty breathing or head trauma. Critical care is 24-hour treatment for life-threatening illnesses or injuries. It is delivered in an intensive care unit at a hospital by a team of highly specialized providers.”

According to Peter, urgent care is a faster, more convenient, and usually a less expensive alternative to the ER for those with non-life-threatening conditions. Nine out of 10 urgent care patients wait 30 minutes or less to see a provider.

“Come to a Memorial Hermann-GoHealth Urgent Care if you have a non-life-threatening illness or injury. We can connect you with a Memorial Hermann primary or specialty provider if follow up care is needed,” he explained. “We are also available if something happens outside of normal business hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Most of our centers are open until 8 p.m. on weekdays and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends, when most doctors’ offices are typically closed.”

Peter has some handy tips for staying safe and healthy during this holiday week and weekend, including:

• Prevent heat-related illness – Staying hydrated, in the shade and even carrying a personal fan can keep you comfortable. Heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion or heat stroke can escalate in the afternoon heat.

• Spot signs early – Excessive thirst and dry mouth are indicators you need to get out of the heat. Body temperatures over 100.4 degrees, flushed skin, dizziness, nausea and muscle cramps are indicators to get medical attention.

• No A/C? Use your freezer – Freeze a washcloth and use it as a cold compress. Put ice packs between your sheets an hour before you go to bed to cool it down.

• Fight dehydration – Children get dehydrated faster than adults. If your child does not drink a lot, encourage them to take frequent small sips when outdoors.

• Protect yourself from the sun – One bad sunburn as a child or adolescent can increase the risk of melanoma for that child later in life. The general rule to avoid sunburn: Apply UVA/UVB sunscreen, SPF 30 or higher, every two hours.

• Stay away from sparklers! – Less than 1% of firework injuries happen at professionally staged firework displays. Skip dangerous home firework displays and opt for your town’s celebration in the sky.

• Learn about burn care – Run a burned area under lukewarm water for 10 to 15 minutes, then check for burn size and color. Do not use icy cold water, as it can cause more damage. Seek medical care for burns larger than 1-2 inches.

• Avoid food poisoning – Nearly 48 million food poisoning cases are reported each year, caused by bacteria present in spoiled food. Since food spoils when served at the wrong temperature, make sure that picnic potato salad is on ice.

Memorial Hermann-GoHealth is uniquely positioned to help residents of The Woodlands. There are two centers in the township that provide quality urgent care when and where you need it – in person and virtually. If you need immediate help with an illness or injury, you can walk into the centers for same-day help. You can also save your spot online in advance or book a virtual urgent care visit, whichever is most convenient.

“We also feature seamless connections; the care you receive with us is connected to that which you receive across Memorial Hermann,” he said. “That means your medical records are in one place, making it easy for your providers to stay up to date on your health and treatment plan. And if you need a referral for primary or specialty care, we make it easy because we are integrated with Memorial Hermann’s vast network. Our connection to Memorial Hermann and investments in technology also allow us to personalize your experience.”

Memorial Hermann-GoHealth has two local accessible locations. The center on Kuykendahl Rd. is one of the few Urgent Care centers that care for infants as young as one week old, children, and adults, with pediatric specialists on their team to uniquely care for babies and children. The center on Market Street provides care for ages 6 months and up, and is right across the parking lot from the H-E-B.

“We make it as easy as possible to reach us for high-quality care during your daily travels,” said Peter.

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