FoundCare’s Medical Director Urges Prevention to Combat Heat Stroke, Sunburn
(West Palm Beach, FL) – Friday, May 27th kicks off the Memorial Day weekend holiday, but it’s also National Heat Safety Awareness Day, a time when Florida residents need to be particularly aware of the dangers present when enjoying the beach, barbecues and other outdoor activities.
Dr. Katina Bonaparte, Medical Director at FoundCare’s Federally Qualified Health Center in West Palm Beach, says prevention is the best way to stay safe and have fun over Memorial Day weekend and all summer long. Following are some of her best practices and tips for preventing heat stroke and sunburn:
Heat stroke: Heat stroke is the last stage of overheating, which can start with cramps and then become heat exhaustion. Symptoms to watch for include headaches, dizziness, nausea and vomiting.
The best ways to prevent heat stroke include:
  • Avoid outdoor activity in the middle of the day, when temperatures are highest
  • Hydrate frequently with water and sports drinks to replace electrolytes, and supervise children to make sure they do the same
  • Wear loose, lightweight and light-colored clothing
  • Avoid drinks containing alcohol or caffeine when outside, as these accelerate dehydration
  • Never leave children or pets in cars, even for a minute (Dr. Bonaparte suggests leaving a baby bottle or diaper bag in the front of the car as an extra visual reminder that a child is in the back seat.)
If you think you or someone else is experiencing heat exhaustion or heat stroke, call 9-1-1 immediately, seek shelter inside an air-conditioned building or in the shade, apply ice wrapped in a towel or article of clothing to armpits or neck, hydrate with water or a sports drink and spray the skin with cool water and sit in front of a fan.
Sunburn: “There’s strong evidence linking sun exposure to skin aging and skin cancer, so it’s important to use sunscreen every day in Florida,” said Dr. Bonaparte. However, spending extra time outdoors at the beach or enjoying other summer activities means adding a few extra steps:
  • Make sure to use a sunscreen rated SPF 30 or higher, that is also labeled “broad spectrum” to protect against both UVA and UVB rays
  • Apply sunscreen to all exposed areas 30 minutes before you go out and then every two hours. “Even though a lot of sunscreens say they’re ‘water-resistant,’ you should reapply if you’ve been in the water,” Dr. Bonaparte explained.
“Prevention is the key to enjoying a safe and fun summer,” summarized Dr. Bonaparte. “We all have very busy lives and we’re constantly multitasking. So the trick is to practice a few basic prevention tactics to prepare yourself and your children for the summer ahead.”
About FoundCare
FoundCare, Inc. is a non-profit health care provider located in Palm Beach County. The organization operates a Federally Qualified Health Center that offers pediatrics, family practice, chronic disease management, behavioral health counseling, laboratory work, X-rays and dentistry, as well as an on-site pharmacy. FoundCare accepts most insurance plans, Medicaid, Medicare and self-pay on a sliding fee scale. FoundCare’s hours are Monday and Friday 8 am to 5 pm; Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 8 am to 8 pm; and Saturday 8 am to 1 pm. For more information call 561-HEALTHY (561-432-5849) or visit