This is the Tuesday headline from USA Today. Excessive heat, dry conditions, fire danger, violent storms, flooding, and other catastrophic weather events are unleashing their power right now. No one is immune however, people with chronic health conditions are especially vulnerable when the body and mind are put under this much stress.
Signs and Symptoms of Heat Related Illness
1. Heat exhaustion comes before heat strokes often referred to as heat cramps. The body is starting to overheat caused by water depletion or salt depletion. Both can have very serious effects leading to confusion, fainting and more serious condition
2. Heat stroke symptoms mimics many other minor health complaints but when they occur together can spell real trouble. Watch out for headaches; nausea; mental confusion; hot, dry, and red skin alternating with chills and sweating; rapid breathing and a temperature above 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat stroke can cause organ damage.
3. Some high blood pressure medications can predispose a person to dehydration. This is particularly important for people with a reduced thirst sensation. Caregivers should keep an eye on the number of fluids ingested and eliminated especially in very hot conditions.
4. Sun Exposure – wear sunscreen to reduce the likelihood of sunburns when outdoors. Wear a hat and loose clothing to reduce the skin’s exposure to direct sunlight.
Actions that can Limit Harmful Impacts
1. Keep vulnerable people in air conditioning or in a well-ventilated room with a fan blowing. Do not leave a people or pets in a hot car while running errands, the temperature rises quickly in the heat of the day, much faster than the line in the grocery store.
2. Check up on people living alone more frequently. Make sure the windows and doors are in good working order and allow for natural ventilation if an air conditioner is not installed.
3. Rearrange wardrobes putting the loose-fitting cotton clothes within easy reach. Lightweight clothes provide natural ventilation and wick moisture away from the skin.
4. Stock drinks with electrolytes, such as Gatorade, that will replenish lost nourishment and keeps the body well hydrated.
5. Be sure to include food items containing natural salt in the summertime diet also to replenish nutrients.
6. Discuss with your healthcare provider alarming symptoms of specific medications with exposure to excessive heat. Be sure to have an honest discussion about how much outdoor activity is appropriate in the summertime.
Living Long and Living Well
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Yours In Health,