Rising temperatures put people at risk of heat-related illnesses, which include heat exhaustion and deadly heat stroke. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, on average, over 600 people die from complications related to extreme heat each year in the United States.
You don't necessarily have to be working or exercising outdoors to experience heat issues. The elderly and disabled can be especially vulnerable during very hot weather. Limited budgets and in some cases limited sensory awareness may keep them from running air conditioning when it's most needed. That's why it's so important to check on your elderly or disabled neighbors, and get them to cooling centers, or enrolled in a facility like Cambridge Adult Day Center.
Heat exhaustion is the precursor to heatstroke and is a direct result of the body overheating. The signs of heat exhaustion include:
▪headache ▪dizziness and confusion ▪loss of appetite and feeling sick ▪excessive sweating and pale, clammy skin ▪cramps in the arms, legs and stomach ▪fast breathing or pulse ▪being very thirsty
If someone is showing signs of heat exhaustion they need to be cooled down. Also, get them to drink plenty of water, sports or rehydration drinks.
To prevent becoming overheated it is important to dress for the weather by wearing loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing made from breathable fabric and limit sun exposure. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of cool liquids, especially water, before you feel thirsty to decrease your risk of dehydration and avoid alcohol.
Alcohol is a diuretic and can also have the effect of making you sweat more. The combination of sweating more in the heat and going to the toilet more regularly means you could lose more fluid than you take in and become dehydrated.