When the temperatures rise in the summer and you are out in the sun and heat, there are many significant health risks that are often over looked.
While dehydration seems to be a simple fix; drink water and stay hydrated. Do you know what that really means?
Hydration is essential as the fluid imbalance of the body can affect almost every organ in your body. Water keeps the balance and pressure in check and allows your body to work like a well oiled machine.
When internal fluids are decreased by either sweating or not drinking enough fluids to keep up the pressure balance in the body, physical symptoms begin to show up. Some may be immediate and be very dangerous; others may happen several days later and you may miss seeing the signs.
What to watch for:
- change in blood pressure; monitor your pressure a few times a day if you are having heart issues prior to getting out in the heat
- increase in dry eye symptoms; when the fluids in your body are less, your eyes will feel the dryness almost immediately
- problems with prior health concerns that your medication was keeping in balance; your medications were prescribed on the assumption of a certain body balance of fluids and decreasing the fluids can concentrate the medications to produce adverse affects
- rise in blood sugar; when you sweat, there is a huge release of electrolytes in the body and drinks may increase the concentration of sugar in your blood
- pain in the legs and feet; when you concentrate the blood in your vessels, the blood does not flow as well and can cause pain
- dizziness; elders wear more clothes like long sleeves and long pants, hats and wigs which all concentrate the heat in the body and do not allow for a release of body heat effectively
What to do:
- If you are not in great health and take prescription medications, you should ask your physician prior to being outside for an extended period of time.
- If you cannot reach your physician and you are near a pharmacy, you can go in there and ask for help
- If you feel that something is ‘different’ than it used to be, seek help in an emergency room
- Listen to your own body; if you feel hot, go inside and stay there. No activity is necessary and you should not be subjected to circumstances or events if they are going to put you at risk.
- Elders; limit dark and heavy clothing and hats. While they keep out the sun, they are like an oven in holding heat.
- Decrease items that you are carrying; back packs, large purses, and other items are asking your body to do work and putting a huge toll on your heart and blood system.
- If you are starting to have symptoms that you think your medications were meant for and you decide to ‘take a few more’, ‘skip a dose’, or ‘forget for today’; Do Not Do It! Do not self adjust your medications if you have been exposed to heat! Do not wait until you ‘cool off’ to re evaluate, seek help now!
- Please check on people in your neighborhood, your family members and those you pass in the street.
- If you see something, SAY SOMETHING! Time may be of the essence.
- If you have had recent surgery, healing from a disease or procedure, or just had tests done; DO NOT go out in the heat. Your body has one job, to heal and repair. Do NOT over tax it.
All ages groups are affected with heat issues and to assume that it is summer and no big deal can be a dangerous way to think. Allow everyone to speak their mind and if they don’t want to go, do not force them to go or participate in activities.
Today, it is almost 100 degrees in the temperature and the dew point is almost 80 which equals a ‘feels like’ temperature of over 110!
Enjoy your summer and if you like the heat, enjoy! If not, dream of the Fall, it will be here soon! Be well!
If you have questions or need to talk to someone, Dr. Jeanette has sessions via the telephone and Zoom. Visit her website and request a session.