Too Hot for Your Health
Almost every summer there is a deadly heat wave in some part of the country. Dr. Jack Guralnik from the National Institute on Aging says, too much heat is not safe for anyone.
Balintfy: Almost every summer there is a deadly heat wave in some part of the country. Dr. Jack Guralnik from the National Institute on Aging says, too much heat is not safe for anyone.
Guralnik: Young infants are at risk, older people, especially older people who have chronic conditions — conditions like heart disease and high blood pressure — some of this is related to the disease and some of it's related to medications that people take.
Balintfy: Dr. Guralnik warns that these populations, as well as athletes who train in the summer, and people who work outside in the heat, are at risk for heat-related illnesses, or hyperthermia. He explains what hyperthermia is.
Guralnik: It's a range of conditions that goes from fairly mild conditions of having cramps of having some fatigue, all the way up through heat stroke which is a very serious and sometimes life threatening condition.
Balintfy: Heat stroke is defined as having a temperature above 104 degrees.
Guralnik: When you develop heat stroke, your temperature rises and you loose the ability to sweat and control your body temperature. So what you get into is a situation where basically your body temperature starts to soar.
Balintfy: Dr. Guralnik describes other signs of heat stroke:
Guralnik: The other symptoms include fainting, which can sometimes be the first sign of stroke, changing behavior, people will become confused, be grumpy and irritable, and they may start acting strangely, they may loose control of their bodies and they may stagger or fall, their skin may be dry and flushed rather than perspiring, and finally if you take their pulse, they may have a strong rapid pulse, or a slow and weak pulse.
Balintfy: Some tips to lower the risk of heat-related illnesses, like heat stroke, include staying in a cool place, wearing light, loose clothing, and drinking plenty of fluids.
Guralnik: There are experts who recommending drinking six or eight glasses of water or fruit juice a day. One important consideration is that when you are at risk of hyperthermia or heat related conditions, you should avoid alcoholic beverages and even avoid drinking an excessive amount of coffee or tea which also can impair your ability to regulate your temperature when the temperature goes quite high.Balintfy: For more information on hyperthermia and for resources to get help reducing your risk, visit www.nia.nih.gov, or call toll free, 800-222-2225. That's 800-222-2225. This is Joe Balintfy, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland.
About This Audio Report
Reporter: Joe Balintfy
Sound Bite: Jack Guralnik, Ph.D., Chief Laboratory of Epidemiology, Demography and Biometry
Topic: Hyperthermia, heat stroke, heat exhaustion