Updates from Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital and Hospital Foundation
Not only has Dignity Health Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital (SNMH) had to deal with COVID-19 cases this week, but the Jones Fire provided an additional challenge. On Monday, as mandatory evacuations began to occur, SNMH received an evacuation advisory by the Nevada County Office of Emergency Services.
Hospitals must always be prepared for an evacuation. An incident command team comes together to review how everything will roll out. Hospital workers, nurses, other clinicians, physicians and administrative leadership all stepped up and in a very short period of time to review the evacuation plan and solidify routes.
There was tremendous patient evacuation coordination with Dignity Health hospitals in the Sacramento area, Tahoe Forest Hospital, and other nearby health systems. This was being done by hospital employees who were under evacuation orders themselves and didn’t know what might be happening at home.
Around 9 p.m. on Monday, the hospital’s advisory evacuation was called off. While something could change, the community can be assured if patients need to be moved to a safer location during the fire, everything is in place to make a smooth transition.
With temperatures hitting record highs, local residents should be careful when outside. Heat exhaustion happens when the body gets too hot and if left untreated can lead to heatstroke. This occurs when your internal body temperature reaches 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Heatstroke can be quite serious causing shock, organ failure, brain damage and in extreme situations, death.
It is important to be aware of the symptoms of heat exhaustion. These include muscle cramps, heavy sweating, pale or cold skin, weakness, dizziness or confusion, headache, vomiting or nausea, a fast heartbeat and dark-colored urine which generally indicates dehydration.
Heatstroke warning signs include a 104 or higher temperature, flushed skin, lack or sweating, trouble breathing, fainting and even seizures. If you suspect heatstroke, get immediate medical attention or call 911.
What should you do to avoid heat exhaustion and heatstroke? First, don’t go outside unless you don’t have any other option. Stay in an air conditioned space. If you must go out, wear lightweight, light-colored loose fitting clothing. Always use sunscreen and protect yourself by wearing a hat or carrying an umbrella. Drink plenty of water. The lack of salt due to dehydration can contribute to heat related illness. Avoid drinking caffeine such as coffee, tea, and soda.
If you participate in outdoor activities, plan them for cooler times of the day – before 10 a.m. or after 6 p.m. Take frequent breaks and sit in the shade as much as possible.
Be cautious of certain medicines as they can affect the way your body reacts to the heat. These might include antibiotics, allergy medicines (antihistamines), some blood pressure, cholesterol and heart disease medicines and antidepressants. Also be careful using water pills, laxatives, prescription acne medicines and diet pills.
If you suffer from heat exhaustion or heat stroke you may be sensitive to heat for about a week. It is important to let your body rest and recover.
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