Health Risk of Higher Temperatures

The National Institute on Aging recommends that on hot and humid days, older people, particularly those with chronic medical conditions like heart disease and diabetes, stay indoors in cooler spaces, especially during an air pollution alert. People without air conditioners should go to cool places such as senior centers, shopping malls, movie theaters and libraries.

Heat fatigue, heat exhaustion and heat stroke are commonly known forms of hyperthermia. Symptoms of heat-related problems include confusion, dizziness, muscle cramping, fever and headache.

Treating Heat-related Events:

  • Get the person out of the heat and into a shady, air-conditioned or other cool place. Urge them to lie down.
  • Apply a cold, wet cloth to the wrists, neck, armpits, and groin. These are places where blood passes close to the surface of the skin, and the cold cloths can help cool the blood.
  • If the person can swallow safely, offer fluids such as water, fruit and vegetable juices. Avoid alcohol and caffeine.
  • Suggest a cool shower or bath water if it is safe to do so.

Heat stroke is life-threatening

Symptoms of heat stroke include high body temperature (generally over 104 degrees), change in mental status (confusion, combativeness), strong rapid pulse, lack of sweating, and staggering. If you suspect heat stroke, call 911 immediately and try to cool the body with the suggested tips.

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