Avoiding Heat Related Illnesses
Summer is upon us and that usually means record-high temperatures. The extreme heat can be especially dangerous to older adults causing sunburn, dehydration and even heat stroke. According to the U.S. Department for Health and Human Services, more than 6,000 Americans are hospitalized for heat exposure every summer. Severe heat exposure occurs when body temperatures rise to 106 degrees Fahrenheit or more.
To keep you and your family safe from heat related illnesses, follow these simple steps:
- Drink 8 ounces of fluid every half hour when in the sun. Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
- If possible, avoid going out during the hottest part of the day, typically between 10:00 – 2:00.
- Replace lost minerals such as sodium, chloride and potassium with food and drinks like bananas and quality sports drinks. These minerals are lost when people perspire.
- When feeling hot, head to the sink and run cool water over both your wrists to avoid heat stroke. Major veins are located in the wrists and the cool water can lower your temperature by three degrees.
Taking these simple steps will help to reduce your risk for heat related illnesses, making your summer a more enjoyable one! However, if you are ever in doubt and think you may be experiencing heat exhaustion or heat stroke, call 9-1-1 immediately.
Symptoms of heat exhaustion range from:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Muscle cramps
More extreme heat stroke may cause:
- Rapid pulse
- Difficulty breathing
- Mental confusion