July 2, 2014
Hyperthermia: Too hot for your health...
During the summer, it is important for everyone, especially older adults and people with chronic medical conditions, to be aware of the dangers of hyperthermia. The National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the NIH, has some tips to help mitigate some of the dangers.
Hyperthermia is an abnormally high body temperature caused by a failure of the heat-regulating mechanisms in the body to deal with the heat coming from the environment. Heat stroke, heat syncope (sudden dizziness after prolonged exposure to the heat), heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat fatigue are common forms of hyperthermia. People can be at increased risk for these conditions, depending on the combination of outside temperature, their general health and individual lifestyle.
Older people, particularly those with chronic medical conditions, should stay indoors, preferably with air conditioning or at least a fan and air circulation, on hot and humid days, especially when an air pollution alert is in effect. Living in housing without air conditioning, not drinking enough fluids, not understanding how to respond to the weather conditions, lack of mobility and access to transportation, overdressing and visiting overcrowded places are all lifestyle factors that can increase the risk for hyperthermia.
People without air conditioners should go to places that do have air conditioning, such as senior centers, shopping malls, movie theaters and libraries. Cooling centers, which may be set up by local public health agencies, religious groups and social service organizations in many communities, are another option.
The risk for hyperthermia may increase from:
Age-related changes to the skin such as poor blood circulation and inefficient sweat glands
Being substantially overweight or underweight
Heart, lung and kidney diseases, as well as any illness that causes general weakness or fever
High blood pressure or other health conditions that require changes in diet. For example, people on salt-restricted diets may be at increased risk. However, salt pills should not be used without first consulting a physician.
Reduced perspiration,caused by medications such as diuretics, sedatives, tranquilizers and certain heart and blood pressure drugs
Use of multiple medications. It is important, however, to continue to take prescribed medication and discuss possible problems with a physician.
Heat stroke is a life-threatening form of hyperthermia. It occurs when the body is overwhelmed by heat and is unable to control its temperature. Heat stroke occurs when someone’s body temperature increases significantly (above 104 degrees Fahrenheit) and shows symptoms of the following:
strong rapid pulse, lack of sweating, dry flushed skin, mental status changes (like combativeness or confusion), staggering, faintness or coma. Seek immediate emergency medical attention for a person with any of these symptoms, especially an older adult.
If you suspect someone is suffering from a heat-related illness:
Get the person out of the heat and into a shady, air-conditioned or other cool place.
Urge the person to lie down.
If you suspect heat stroke, call 911.
Apply a cold, wet cloth to the wrists, neck, armpits and/or groin. These are places where blood passes close to the surface of the skin, and the cold cloths can help cool the blood.
Help the individual to bathe or sponge off with cool water.
If the person can swallow safely, offer fluids such as water or fruit and vegetable juices, but avoid alcohol and caffeine.
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) within the Administration for Children and Families in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services helps eligible households pay for home cooling and heating costs. People interested in applying for assistance should contact their local or state LIHEAP agency or go to http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ocs/liheap External Web Site Policy.
For a free copy of the NIA’s AgePage on hyperthermia in English or in Spanish, contact the NIA Information Center at 1-800-222-2225 or go to http://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/hyperthermia-too-hot-your-health or http://www.nia.nih.gov/espanol/publicaciones/hipertermia (Spanish).
The NIA leads the federal effort supporting and conducting research on aging and the medical, social, and behavioral issues of older people. The Institute’s broad scientific program seeks to understand the nature of aging and to extend the healthy, active years of life. For more information on research, health and aging, go to http://www.nia.nih.gov.
About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.
Do you ever leave your doctor’s office and then remember all the questions you were going to ask him, but you got nervous and forgot? We’ve got a solution!!
Ask Me 3 is a patient education program designed to improve communication between patients and health care providers, to encourage patients to become active members of their health care team, and to promote improved health outcomes. The program encourages patients to ask their health care providers three questions:
What is my main problem?
What do I need to do?
Why is it important for me to do this?
Studies show that people who understand health instructions make fewer mistakes when they take their medicine or prepare for a medical procedure. They may also get well sooner or be able to better manage a chronic health condition.
The Lawrence County Health Department is working with local doctors to kick off the “Ask Me 3” campaign, using the three questions listed above. Sometimes patients are reluctant to ask questions of their health care provider for various reasons, but your doctor WANTS you to ask the questions and make sure you understand everything discussed during your visit.
The “Ask Me 3” program opens conversation between you and your doctor, and assures him or her that you understand your condition and what you need to do. You will be hearing more about it soon!!!
The Lawrence County Diabetes Support Group will meet on Monday, July 14, 2014 at 5:00 p.m. at the Lawrence County Extension Office located at 249 Industrial Park Road, Louisa, KY 41230. Guest Speaker will be Gary Lyons with Three Rivers Physical Therapy.
The Center for Disease Control’s Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) monitors six types of health-risk behaviors that contribute to the leading causes of death and disability among youth and adults, including tobacco use.
The 2013 YRBS data has been released and Kentucky is doing great!
We used to be number one in youth tobacco use, but no more!
6th in the nation for current youth cigarette use (17.9%)
8th in current smokeless tobacco use (13.2%)
15th in current cigar use (13.3%)
We’ve come a long way, but we still have a way to go to eliminate use of these deadly and dangerous products by our state’s young people.
YRBSS includes a national school-based survey conducted by CDC and state, territorial, tribal, and local surveys conducted by state, territorial, and local education and health agencies and tribal governments.
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