Heart Health

Health Tips on Hot Days

July 14, 2010


Health Tips on Hot Days

It’s almost 3 p.m. on Wednesday. It’s 95 degrees outside.  Humidity stands at 69 percent. The dewpoint (the what????) is 80. Now, take all of those numbers, shake and what do you have? A heat index of 113 degrees. That’s beyond hot – that’s flirting with dangerous.

Anytime the heat index is above 100 degrees, you should stay inside. If you have to be out – stay in the shade and keep yourself hydrated (I’m told caffeine doesn’t count, so put down the diet soda and reach for the water.)  While you’re at it, be cool and make sure your children, parents, grandparents and pets are out of the heat and hydrated.

Did you know that heat illnesses are much more severe in the very young and in the elderly? What’s a daughter to do? Make sure mom is drinking water and remember that her medications may make her more prone to suffer complications in the heat. Here’s what to look for:

Early Symptoms of Heat Stroke

  • Muscle cramps, which hurt by the way, are caused when your body loses too much fluid. Drink water (did I say that already?) and be sure to stretch after you exercise.
  • You know it’s getting bad when the headache and nausea set in. At that point, the skin gets hot and flushed. If the person is vomiting and you cannot rehydrate them – do not pass go – do not collect $200 – go directly to the doctor.
  • The next step is confusion. Heat stroke victims often become disorientated. Still think it’s no big deal? Get this, Dr. Sarno says the mortality rate of heat stroke in the elderly can reach up to 80 percent.

Bottom line – stay out of the heat, keep a fan going or the air conditioning on. Take the weather seriously and call your doctor or nearest CHI Health Clinic if you feel like the heat has gotten the best of you.

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