For many, summertime means sun, surf, and sand, but this season can also bring on many heat-related issues. Hyperthermia is a group of heat-related illnesses that occur when the body overheats ranging from heat exhaustion to heat stroke. Older adults are more susceptible to hyperthermia because people lose some of their ability to dissipate heat as they age.
Chronic medical conditions, such as heart disease, poor circulation, and obesity can also hinder a person’s ability to cool down. Certain medications, such as those for high blood pressure, heart disease, and depression can diminish a person’s ability to respond to heat as well. Here is a list of symptoms to look out for this summer!
- Coordination issues
- Trouble concentrating
- Skin that’s cool and clammy
- Rapid pulse
Anyone suffering from cramps or early signs of heat exhaustion, such as heavy sweating, weakness, dizziness or nausea should also seek medical treatment. To prevent heat-related illnesses, here are a few tips to prevent yourself from getting too hot and what to do if you get too hot this summer.
How to avoid Over-heating:
- Take cool-down breaks in the shade or in an air-conditioned environment. If you don’t need to be outside in extreme heat, stay indoors.
- Stay well hydrated. Drink water or drinks containing electrolytes, such as Gatorade or Powerade, every 15 to 20 minutes when you’re active in the heat.
- Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing when outdoors.
- If your home isn’t well air-conditioned, consider spending time in an air-conditioned mall, library, or another cool public place during hot spells.
If you are overheating try to get to a cool location, preferably one with air conditioning, start drinking water or other fluids with electrolytes that will help restore hydration. Electrolytes are substances in the body, such as calcium, sodium, and potassium that keep you hydrated. They help regulate your heart rate, nerve function, and muscle health. Take a cool bath or shower to help speed up your recovery or place ice bags under your arms and around your groin area. If your symptoms do not improve when you try cooling off and rehydrating, or you see someone who appears to be having a heat stroke, call your local emergency services immediately.