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Entries in Heat Exhaustion (6)

Tuesday
Jun192012

How to Stay Cool as Heat Wave Hits US

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Summer doesn't officially start until Wednesday evening, but in some parts of the country the sweltering summer heat came early as the temperature in Denver and Phoenix eclipsed 100 on Monday.  And over the next few days, parts of the East Coast will bake as well.

Thousands of people end up in hospitals because of heat-related illnesses every year and according to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 3,500 people died after exposure to excessive heat between 1999 and 2003.

Despite the dangerously high heat and humidity, medical experts say there are simple but important ways people can stay cool on oppressively hot days and avoid problems like heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Dr. Jeffrey Rabrich, director of EMS and disaster preparedness at St. Luke's & Roosevelt Hospitals in New York, expects to see quite a number of people come to the emergency room with heat-related symptoms over the next few days as temperatures in New York City climb into the 90s.

"Generally, whenever we have a heat wave or high humidity, we get a lot of patients in with symptoms that include dehydration, lightheadedness and passing out," Rabrich said.  "Most people are not too severe and we can treat them by cooling them off and giving them fluids.  But every once in a while, we get a couple of cases of heat stroke."

Heat stroke is a life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical attention. Doctors warn it can be caused by being out in high temperatures for too long or by being overly active in very hot weather.

People should monitor themselves and others for the classic signs of heat stroke.

"Watch out for symptoms like fatigue, dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea, or if the skin becomes hot or sweating stops," Rabrich said.

Heat exhaustion is less serious, but if not treated, can progress to heat stroke.  According to the American Red Cross, symptoms of heat exhaustion include cool, moist skin, headache, dizziness and nausea.

There are simple steps people can take to avoid experiencing any hot weather symptoms.

"Avoid outdoor activities during the hottest part of the day, typically between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.," Rabrich said.  "People also must stay hydrated by drinking fluids like water or Gatorade."

Avoid alcohol, he advised, since it can act as a diuretic and lead to dehydration.

There is, however, the danger of overhydration -- also known as "water intoxication" -- so Jeffrey Pellegrino, who serves on the National Scientific Advisory Council for the American Red Cross, advised drinking around half a cup of water every 20 minutes or so if out in the heat.

Proper wardrobe choices will also help keep cool -- wear loose-fitting clothing and a hat if out in the sun.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Aug132011

Student Athletes Encouraged to Take Heat Safety Precautions 

Comstock/Thinkstock(MAYWOOD, Ill.) -- Just because summer vacation winds down, doesn’t necessarily mean the heat does, too.

HealthDay reports that athletic health officials are encouraging high school sports players to take heat safety precautions as they begin their fall training.

Loyola University Health System athletic trainer Jennifer Janczak urged players and coaches to take “common-sense precautions to prevent heat exhaustion and heat stroke," she said in a university news release.

The release cited that four high school football players died in 2010 due to heat stroke.

The following tips are offered for high school athletes:

• Drink water before practice and during breaks, even if you're not thirsty.
• Don't drink beverages with caffeine.
• Monitor your urine. If it's dark, you're not drinking enough water.
• Alert your coach or athletic trainer if you experience signs of heat exhaustion, which include dizziness, nausea, difficulty concentrating, headache or heavy sweating. Rest in an air-conditioned room or in the shade.
• Untreated heat exhaustion can lead to potentially deadly heat stroke, which requires immediate medical attention. Symptoms of heat stroke include skin that feels hot but not sweaty, shortness of breath, confusion, vomiting and loss of consciousness.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio´╗┐

Monday
Aug082011

New Guidelines Issued for Kids Exercising in Hot Weather

Polka Dot Images/Thinkstock(ELK GROVE VILLAGE, Ill.) -- As parents get ready to send their kids back to school, the American Academy of Pediatrics is out with new recommendations Monday on how kids can exercise safely in the heat.

Among the updated guidelines are calls for risk-reduction training, careful monitoring for heat illness, providing rest periods, breaks for sufficient hydration, and modifying activities as needed depending weather conditions.

The biggest change, however, in the newly released policy -- published in the September issue of Pediatrics -- is the AAP's recognition that kids can adapt to exercise in heat just as well as adults.

"If kids are well hydrated and they're doing the same as adults, they can quite honestly handle those conditions just as well as adults," says Dr. Michael Bergeron, co-author of the guidelines and director of the National Institute for Athletic Health and Performance in South Dakota.

The AAP had previously noted in its 2000 policy that children weren't as able to adapt to heat stress as adults.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jul222011

Heat Wave Linked to 7 Deaths in Chicago Area, Including 18-Year-Old

Burke/Triolo Productions/Comstock/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- The massive heat wave that is now suffocating the East Coast and pushing power grids to near capacity has contributed to at least seven deaths in the Chicago area this week, autopsies by the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office revealed Friday.

One of the victims Cesar Rodriguez, 18, collapsed in front of his home Thursday while riding his bike and running around. He died later that day. His family said that he had no known medical conditions but may not have consumed enough water.

The most recent report from the National Weather Service said that at least 22 people had died because of the extreme heat and humidity. Emergency rooms reported Thursday that they were "stacked up" with patients.

"We're up in overall cases by 10 percent every day this week," the Detroit Medical Center told ABC News. "The chief of emergency medicine estimated that 15 percent to 20 percent are heat exhaustion or heat-related cases."

The worst day for the heat index is yet to come for the East Coast and the Mid-Atlantic region -- from North Carolina to New York -- where heat index values could exceed 115 degrees.

Half of the country is under a heat advisory, although the East Coast might have a slight break in the not-too-distant future.

According to senior forecaster Michael Eckerdt at the National Weather Service, the 100-plus degree temperatures might take a dip later this weekend.

"There is a cold front that is going to be dropping into the eastern U.S. this weekend," Eckerdt said. "The heat will continue into Saturday and then we will see moderating temperatures back down into around the 90-degree range as we move into Sunday and Monday. But it's going to still remain very warm."

The National Weather Service has safety tips for adults looking to keep cool.

  • Slow down. Try to reduce or cancel any strenuous activities, or reschedule them for the coolest part of the day.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing to reflect sunlight and heat.
  • Eat lighter foods. Meat and other proteins increase metabolic heat production and could cause even more water loss.
  • Drink plenty of water, but avoid alcohol and caffeinated drinks.
  • Spend more time in air-conditioned places. If you don't have an air-conditioner in your home, go to a library, store or other location for part of the day to stay cool.
  • Avoid getting too much sun. Sunburn can reduce your body's ability to release heat.


Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jul212011

Extreme Heat: Emergency Rooms Report Increase in Patients

Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The extreme heat system scorching the nation was on the move eastward toward major cities Thursday as it impacts airports, tourist spots and emergency rooms.

At New York's Statue of Liberty, officials closed the statue's crown area as temperatures inside reached 110 degrees Thursday afternoon.

Meanwhile, emergency rooms say they are "stacked up" with patients due to the heat that has scorched the Southwest and Midwest.

"We're up in overall cases by 10 percent every day this week," the Detroit Medical Center reported to ABC News Thursday. "The chief of emergency medicine estimated that 15 percent to 20 percent are heat exhaustion or heat-related cases."

The center said that one man with diabetes was found unconscious on the floor of his non-air-conditioned home. "He's still not out of the woods," the center said.

There are 141 million people in more than two dozen states under heat advisories.

As many as 22 people have died because of the extreme heat and humidity, the National Weather Service reported Wednesday -- and there is no immediate end to the scorching temperatures in sight.

Heat indexes from 105 to 115 degrees were expected from the Midwest to the East Coast Thursday.

Across the Midwest, people were being treated in hospitals for illnesses related to the heat. In Wichita, Kan., hospitals saw 25 heat-related illnesses, while in Des Moines, Iowa, they saw 16.

According to hospital officials, a person can die within half an hour once they get heat exhaustion. Officials warned people to watch for signs of heat exhaustion. In these conditions, the body, even at rest, can lose a quart of fluid an hour.

The National Weather Service has safety tips for adults looking to keep cool:

-- Slow down. Try to reduce or cancel any strenuous activities, or reschedule them for the coolest part of the day.

-- Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing to reflect sunlight and heat.

-- Eat lighter foods. Meat and other proteins increase metabolic heat production and could cause even more water loss.

-- Drink plenty of water, but avoid alcohol and caffeinated drinks.

-- Spend more time in air-conditioned places. If you don't have an air-conditioner in your home, go to a library, store or other location for part of the day to stay cool.

-- Avoid getting too much sun. Sunburn can reduce your body's ability to release heat.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jun092011

How to Avoid the ER in the Upcoming Heat Wave

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- As the Northeast prepares for nearly record-breaking temperature spikes over the next several days, urban hospitals are bracing for heat-related illnesses that invariably strike the elderly during the dog days of summer.

The National Weather Service is predicting temperatures reaching into the 90s and 100 degrees with high humidity for the East Coast and Southeast states -- compared with the normal highs for this time of year in the upper 70s to low 80s.

"The main issue is that the elderly are not thinking about [the risks]," says Phillip Russertt, 38, a registered nurse for MJHS Homecare who provides home care for the elderly in Queens, New York. "They don't get warm like we do; they tend to drink fewer fluids on a regular basis.  They feel like they're fine but that doesn't mean they are not at risk."

Because of this, Russertt says the first thing he is checking for in the patients he visits is dehydration.

"It's a real public health issue," says Dr. Michael Stern, co-director of the Geriatric Emergency Medicine Fellowship at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. "Between the 1980s and early 2000s there were more heat-related deaths than deaths from all natural disasters combined."

The National Weather Service has issued heat advisories for the Baltimore-Washington region and parts of Ohio, Indiana and Michigan.  Air quality concerns, which cause problems for children, the elderly and those with respiratory problems, were issued along the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic coastline.

As always with summer heat waves, everyone is susceptible to heat exhaustion or the more severe heat stroke, but the young, the elderly and those with chronic medical conditions, especially heart disease, are most at risk.

Since temperatures have been on the rise in New York City, Dr. Stern says they are seeing more patients with heat exhaustion -- the precursor to heat stroke.

"They present with headache, nausea, dizziness, muscle cramps and excessive sweating," he says. "The more dangerous cousin to this is heat stroke, which is when the body stops sweating and loses its ability to cool itself. The body temperature rises to 103 or higher, and you run the risk of organ failure, coma, and death."

Among young, healthy individuals, heat stroke can occur after exerting oneself outside in the heat, but for the elderly, especially those on certain medications that affect hydration and body temperature, simply sitting in a hot, un-air-conditioned apartment in the summer can result in heat stroke "in a matter of hours," Stern says.

This is why "hydration is so key" among the elderly, or anyone exerting themselves outdoors in the heat, says Stern.  Two to four eight-ounce glasses of water per hour is the rule of thumb for those working outside on a day with temperatures in the 90s, he says.  And everyone at risk for dehydration should be avoiding alcoholic, caffeinated and/or sugary beverages as they will only dehydrate further.´╗┐

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio