Summertime is well underway and we are having a heat wave – aprolonged period of excessively hot weather, which may be accompanied by high humidity.
If you have been watching the news lately, you have heard many stories about the excessively high temperatures and high humidity that is effecting over half the country.
Beautiful sunny summer days usually mean most of us can get outside and enjoy the weather; but when the temperature gets too high, you need to be careful.
Too much heat is not safe for anyone. It is even riskier if you are older or if you have health problems. It is important to know the signs and symptoms of hyperthermia, the medical term for excessive body temperature.
These include: sudden dizziness, headache, cramps, swelling in the ankles and feet, thirst, weakness, and nausea. You may sweat a lot and have cold, clammy skin.
Hyperthermia can progress to heat stroke, a life threatening condition. Older people living in homes or apartments without air conditioning or fans are at most risk; so are people who become dehydrated or those with chronic diseases or alcoholism.
It is also important to check on neighbors and loved ones who are especially vulnerable. If you do not have access to air conditioning go to a public place that is air conditioned or to a local cooling center.
~ Melissa Sirola, BSN, RN