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Warm Weather Hazards

The next month or so is an incredible time for outdoor pleasure.  Nevertheless, it is also a period for caution, as high temperatures can make some individuals, especially those over age 65, at risk for certain health hazards.

 

Because the heat can lead to medical troubles, here are some risks to guard against.

 

Heat Exhaustion.  Heat exhaustion typically develops after extended exposure to elevated temperatures, although some people react more quickly to warm temperatures than others.  Symptoms of heat exhaustion include dizziness, weakness, headache, labored breathing, tiredness, significant sweating, queasiness, paleness, moist skin, and muscle cramping.  If you are outside and begin to experience any of these symptoms, move to a shaded or air-conditioned area, rub cool washcloths on your face, arms, and legs, and gingerly drink water.  However, if extreme nausea or vomiting occurs, promptly seek medical attention.

Heat stroke.  Heat stroke is an exceptionally serious medical condition that necessitates immediate action or fatality can occur.  This life-threatening situation takes place when the body becomes unable to properly cool itself.  Actually, body temperatures can rise to 103 degrees or above in a relatively short period of time.  Symptoms of heat stroke include pounding headache, shallow breathing, confusion, nausea, rapid pulse, lightheadedness, fever, and even unconsciousness.  If you find yourself in the presence of someone who could be suffering with this condition, call 911 and/or get immediate medical attention.  If delay is unavoidable, be sure to move the person to a cooler environment and apply cool cloths on the skin.

Dehydration.  Dehydration takes place when the body has lost more fluid than it needs to properly function.  This circumstance can occur in any weather; however, heat is a contributing factor, and seniors taking diuretics or other medications can be especially at risk.  Symptoms of dehydration include limited or dark urine, dry mouth, irritability, headache, dizziness, nausea, and poor skin elasticity.  Naturally, if you feel you are becoming dehydrated, it’s important to drink ample amounts of water and electrolyte-containing liquids throughout the day.  Serious dehydration cases require emergency medical attention and can produce confusion, weakness, low blood pressure, and rapid pulse.

 

Few people want to remain indoors because it is warm outside.  Fortunately, there are precautions everyone can take to help minimize the dangers.

 

1.     Be sure to have access to shade no matter where you are traveling.

2.     Use an umbrella to decrease the added heat of the sun.

3.     Begin activities at a slower pace and gradually increase only if you feel up to it.

4.     Bring along ample amounts of water and be sure to regularly hydrate.

5.     Listen to your body and get out of the heat if you begin to feel weak, strange, faint, sick, or too hot.

6.     Wear a wide brim hat and lightweight, loose clothing made of natural materials.

7.     Have emergency numbers readily available in the event you need immediate assistance.

 

Warm weather hazards?  With proper planning, they can be beaten!

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