Coping with Extreme Heat
For a number of reasons, the elderly are the most at risk for developing heat related illness and suffering severe complications, but some simple precautions can prevent the weather from posing a health problem.
From the Centers for Disease Control, here are a few tips for coping with extreme heat conditions:
Signs and Symptoms of Heat Stroke:
* An extremely high body temperature (103)
* Red, hot, and dry skin (no sweating)
* Rapid, strong pulse
* Throbbing headache
Signs and Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion:
* Heavy sweating
* Muscle Cramps
* Nausea or vomiting
* Skin (may be cool and moist)
* Pulse rate (fast and weak)
* Breathing (fast and shallow)
What You Can Do to Protect Yourself and Others:
* Drink cool, nonalcoholic, noncaffeinated beverages.
* Take a cool shower, bath, or sponge bath.
* If possible, seek an air-conditioned environment.
* Wear lightweight clothing.
* If possible, remain indoors in the heat of the day.
* Do not engage in strenuous activities.
* Electric fans may provide comfort, but when the temperature is in the high 90s, fans will not prevent heat-related illness.
* Never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle!
* Visit adults at risk at least twice a day and closely watch them for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Infants and young children, of course, need much more frequent watching.
* If outdoors, seek shaded areas.
* Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses and by putting on sunscreen SPF 15 or higher.