The dog days of summer are here. Early last week the advisories came in, "Hottest week of summer so far is here." High temperatures, high humidity, hot concreteThe heat can be more than just uncomfortable. Your well-being could be compromised.
The culprit: Dehydration. Dehydration is when your body does not have enough fluids to work properly. The Mayo Clinic advises the condition can be mild, moderate or severe. Severe dehydration requires immediate medical attention. Severe dehydration is a life threatening emergency. For mild to moderate, get to a cool place and increase your water intake. The fluids your body has lost need to be replaced.
In addition to severe hot weather conditions that cause excessive sweating and not drinking enough water, causes of dehydration also include diarrhea, fever and vomiting. Those at most risk of dehydration are children, older adults and those people with chronic health conditions. The best approach, from the Mayo Clinic, "prevention."
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism advises that alcohol causes fluid loss through urination. Added to those hot, sultry days of summer, dehydration or heat stroke can happen quickly. At parties where there is alcohol consumption, every other drink should be non-alcoholic to stay adequately hydrated.
Heat emergencies include heat cramps (from lack of salt due to heavy sweating), heat exhaustion which, if not treated, results in a heat stroke which can cause shock, brain damage, organ failure and death, says the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). The causes of heat illnesses include alcohol use, dehydration, heart disease, high temperature or humidity, some medications, prolonged or excessive exercise, sweat gland problems or wearing too much clothing.
Initially, symptoms may be profuse sweating, extreme fatigue, thirst and muscle cramps. As time goes on, other symptoms arise: headache, dizziness and lightheadedness, weakness, nausea and vomiting, cool, moist skin and dark urine. Cooling the body down is important. Loosen clothing, drink cool water, sit in a cool place. But when the severity is worse, things like a temperature higher than 104 degrees, irrational behavior, extreme confusion, dry, hot, red skin, rapid, shallow breathing, rapid, weak pulse, seizures or unconsciousness, immediate medical attention is necessary. Don't wait that long. The earlier you treat the symptoms, the less the risk to your well being.
As an aside, the recommended daily intake of water for a normal individual is at least eight eight-ounce glasses (64 ounces) per day. The Institute of Medicine determined that an adequate intake for men is about 13 cups, for women, 9 cups. While it used to be believed that caffeinated beverages dehydrate the body, that is not the case, says Mayo Clinic. But water is the best bet for your good health. To learn more about heat-related illness, visit www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000056.htm
During these dog days of summer, enjoy food, friends and fun safely. Live, laugh and love, making great memories.
Family Recovery Center promotes the well being of individuals, families and communities with education, prevention wellness, and treatment programs for substance abuse and related mental health issues. For more information about the programs, contact FRC at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468 or firstname.lastname@example.org.