Thursday, June 11, 2015

Heat tips

We, on the West Coast are in a bit of a heat wave, so today is a reminder of how to keep cool (for us northern hemisphere people) when it's too hot out there. There are enough diseases and conditions of age to worry about - let's not make hot weather one of them.

Too hot for old people doesn't need to be as hot as it does for younger people because our body's heating and cooling systems wear down with the passing years.

Our sweat glands are less efficient and so is our blood circulation. Certain diseases and medications, salt-restricted diets for high blood pressure, being overweight or underweight, among other issues, can affect body temperature regulation.

There are two heat-related conditions that are deadly serious and you should know the symptoms:

HEAT EXHAUSTION occurs when the body gets too hot. Symptoms are thirst, weakness, dizziness, profuse sweating, cold and clammy skin, normal or slightly elevated body temperature. Move yourself or someone experiencing these symptoms to a cool place, drink cool liquids, take a cool bath or shower and rest.

HEAT STROKE is a medical emergency. It can cause brain damage so get thee or the affected person to a hospital immediately. It occurs when body temperature reaches 103 or 104 in a matter of minutes.

Other symptoms include confusion; faintness; strong, rapid pulse; lack of sweating, flushed skin, bizarre behavior and coma. 

Don't fool around with this. Call 911 immediately.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website has anexcellent section on extreme heat including a link from that page to one especially for old people.

Here is a list of suggestions on keeping cool in summer heat.
  •        Wear light-colored, loose clothing.
  •        Heat waves are not the time to skimp on the electric bill. Turn up the air conditioning when you need it.
  •        If you do not have air conditioning, now is the time – before a heat emergency – to find out the locations of your city's cooling centers. Hundreds of cities use school gyms and other large gathering places to help people cool down during the worst of the day's heat.
  •        You could also go the movies, the mall or visit a friend who has air conditioning during the afternoon.
  •        If you have air conditioning, invite a friend who does not have it to visit you during the hottest hours of the day.
  •        If you must be out during a heat wave, do your errands in the early morning. Schedule appointments before the worst heat of the day.
  •        Eat light meals that do not need cooking. High-water-content foods like cantaloupe, watermelon, apples, and other fruits are good.
  •        Keep window shades lowered and curtains drawn during the strongest heat of the day.
  •        Some medications for diabetes, high blood pressure and other conditions can inhibit the body's ability to cool itself. If your area is experiencing a prolonged heat wave, perhaps ask your physician if you can forgo or reduce the amount of those medications for the duration.
  •        Walk very early and swim at noon. Then spend the hot part of the day inside.
  •        Take breaks if gardening. Start slowly, drink lots of water.
  •        Buy  a small kiddie pool, fills it with water, takes breaks I her little pool, with a nice tall drink.
  •        Hydrate by drinking fluids! Keep a water bottle in the car.
  •        Make sure your car's fluids are all good
  •        Getting a bit dizzy/slight headache is an early sign you may need water. Carry a stainless steel insulated water bottle EVERYWHERE. These were invented for hikers and bikers, but they work great for everyone, keep the water very cold for 10-15 hours, and don't make they don't make the water taste strange.
My thanks to As Time goes by for the ideas

Have I left out anything? Do you have more suggestions?

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