Dangers of summer heat — and how to avoid them
Which is worse — heat or humidity? The correct answer is both. Hot weather causes body temperatures to rise and various responses kick in to lower that temperature, including the heart pumping more blood through dilated vessels. Sweating can help to lower body heat when it evaporates but if humidity is too high, that evaporation process is not effective. When the heat gain is faster than the body’s ability to lower it or the body can’t compensate for the fluids lost through perspiration, it is a dangerous time. The body’s inner core rises above the safe level and heat-related illnesses can occur.
Knowing the risk
When the body’s temperature rises too high, it is referred to has hyperthermia. Although heat-related death and illness are preventable, the CDC reports that an average of 658 people in the United States suffer serious heat-related illness or death each year. Men sweat more than women and are usually more susceptible to heat illness. People over the age of 50 are also at greater risk. There are health issues that also can contribute to risk including heart or lung disease, being overweight or taking some medications.
The following are heat-related conditions:
Heat cramps: These muscle spasms or pains can be felt in the arms, legs or stomach. Move to a cooler location, remove excess clothing and take small sips of sports drinks that contain salt and sugar. If pain does not go away in one hour, seek medical help
Heat syncope: This sudden dizziness or faint feeling can occur in high temperatures. Try to rest in cool place, elevate your legs and take sips of water to relieve dizziness.
Heat edema: Heat can bring on sudden swelling in the feet and ankles. Move to a cool location and elevate legs. If swelling is not reduced fairly quickly, call for medical help.
Heat exhaustion: When the body can no longer cool itself, heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, weakness, headache, nausea and dizziness can occur. The skin may feel cold and pulse rate can be elevated. Get to an air-conditioned location or take a cool bath. Take sips of sports drinks with salt and sugar. If symptoms get worse or continue for more than an hour, seek medical help since exhaustion can lead to heat stroke.
Heat stroke: When the body temperature rises to above 103 degrees, heat stroke is possible. The skin may look red and hot and the pulse is irregular. Dizziness or even loss of consciousness can occur. Get medical help immediately by calling 911.
Ways to reduce risk during hot weather:
Drink water but avoid alcohol, which can affect your body’s response to heat.
Use air-conditioning or fans to keep rooms cool. If there is no air-conditioning, open windows and close the shades. If temperatures feel too hot, go to a library or other public space where there is air conditioning.
Dress to fit the temperature by wearing lightweight, loose fitting clothing. Wear a hat outdoors.
Avoid being outdoors during mid-day when temperatures are highest.
Avoid eating heavy meals.
Take a cool shower or bath if you begin to feel overheated.
A time for extra care
Keeping cool in hot weather can be challenging at any time but it becomes even more important during a time of recovery from surgery or a hospital stay when the body is stressed. Being sure to drink enough water and keeping track of body temperature can be an issue when there are so many other health concerns. For many, the wisest choice for recovery is staying in a short-term care facility where there is a compassionate staff focused on your recovery needs.
Glenview Terrace has earned a reputation for providing excellent short-term care following a hospital stay. It provides acclaimed one-on-one physical, occupational and speech therapies up to seven days a week with the goal of returning the patient home as quickly as possible. The expert nursing team and support staff are ready with round-the-clock care for every need that arises from wound care to pain management.
This specialized care is offered with the strictest and most up-to-date infection-control precautions under the guidance of Illinois Department of Public Health and the CDC. Glenview Terrace also takes every additional precaution possible — including routine facility-wide testing and monitoring for symptoms of COVID-19 and frequent disinfecting of high-touch surfaces with EPA-approved cleaning materials.
Glenview Terrace has well-appointed rooms and suites filled with custom-designed furnishings and include a deluxe bathroom with a private shower. Guests are pampered with a variety of amenities including attentive concierge service, morning coffee and newspaper delivered daily to the room, diverse menu selections and much more. The attractive grounds and tranquil fountain are just some of the extras that go into creating an inviting environment for recovery.
When looking for an effective and elegant recovery experience, consider Glenview Terrace where the goal is to quickly and safely get you back to your independent lifestyle. For more information, visit glenviewterrace.com or call 847-729-9090.Back