Hyperthermia: What to Watch Out For

July 28, 2017 in Our News & Bulletins by Uptown HC

In late summer, temperatures rise dramatically, and seniors prove especially susceptible to these changes. Heat related disorders can cause a medical emergency. Here is what to watch out for and how to better protect oneself from heat stroke and other disorders.

There are many illnesses grouped under the name hyperthermia. Out of all of them, heat stroke stands out as the biggest danger. This one requires immediate medical attention. Signs to watch out for are: fainting, changes in behavior, body temperature of over 104°F (40°C), dry and flushed skin, either a strong rapid pulse or a slow weak pulse, and lack of sweating.

There are certain factors that raise the risk of heat stroke or other heat related disorders. Age is a big factor, but there are others. One is having heart or blood vessel problems. Heart, lung, and kidney disease can raise the risk. Being overweight or underweight can also cause problems. Taking sedatives, tranquilizers, diuretics, and some blood pressure and heart medications increases the risk of overheating as well. If you are on any of these, talk with your doctor about your risks of overheating.

Fortunately, there are ways to lower the risk of hyperthermia. The biggest one is to stay hydrated. Stay away from drinks with alcohol and caffeine in them as well. If you live in a home without air conditioning, there are ways to keep your home as cool as possible. One is to keep your shades, blinds, or curtains closed during the hottest parts of the day, and keep your windows open at night. If your house stays too hot, try to spend time during the midday hours away in an airconditioned place like a shopping mall. Also, dress for the weather. Wearing light colors and more natural fibers like cotton for hot weather is a good idea.

Remember, if you or someone you know believe they are having a heat related episode, get inside immediately and consult your physician to see if medical treatment is needed.

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