Warm Weather Raises Hyperthermia Concerns
As much as you may enjoy the heat, too much heat can be dangerous- especially if you're over 50 or having health problems.
Thornton: The lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer are here. Everywhere, folks are enjoying warm weather pursuits like going to the beach, hiking, camping and spending quality time outdoors. Yet, as much as you may enjoy the heat, too much heat can be dangerous — especially if you're over 50 or having health problems. You've heard of "heat cramps", "heat exhaustion", and "heat stroke". Your doctor refers to these conditions collectively as "hyperthermia". If left untreated, hyperthermia can lead to death. Dr. Jack Guralnik, Acting Chief of the Laboratory of Epidemiology, Demography and Biometry with the National Institute on Aging talked about the symptoms you should be aware of when spending time in the hot summer sun.
Guralnik: There're a number of different conditions that we think about when we consider Hyperthermia. People can get cramps in the muscles of their arms and legs. This is called heat cramps, they can get swelling in their ankles and feet. There is a common condition called heat exhaustion where individuals feel thirsty, dizzy, weak, somewhat uncoordinated. And then finally the worst from of heat related problem is heat stroke where you actually loose the ability to control your body temperature and where the body temperature can go up above 104 degrees. And in heat stroke it's quite a dangerous situation that can lead to death.
Thornton: You can take steps to avoid hyperthermia by drinking plenty of liquids, while avoiding drinks that contain caffeine or alcohol. If living in a home or an apartment without air conditioning keep windows open for cross-ventilation. For more tips on how to avoid hyperthermia, visit www.nia.nih.gov. From the National Institutes of Health, I'm Matt Thornton in Bethesda, Maryland.
About This Audio Report
Reporter: Matt Thornton
Sound Bite: Dr. Jack Guralnik