Is it hot enough for you?

Hot summer temperatures increase health risks. Know how to keep your cool!

Are you familiar with the tale of the frog in boiling water? If you put a frog in already-boiling water, it will try to jump out. If you put a frog in water and slowly heat 

the water to boiling, the frog will sit there and become a part of the stew, seemingly unaware of the slow and dangerous increase in temperature. 

With temperatures in northeast Indiana and northwest Ohio predicted to hover around 100 degrees later this week, we need to be aware of ways to ward off ill effects of heat.

  • Wear light-colored clothing

  • Stay in air-conditioning or use an electric fan

  • Mist yourself with cool water

  • Carry a wet washcloth in a plastic bag to wipe your face occasionally

  • Drink water (at least 6-8 glasses) even if you’re not thirsty. And, no, pop doesn’t count.

It's important to pay special attention to the very young and the elderly because they are particularly vulnerable to heat-related illness, in part because preventive measures are harder for them to do for themselves. “Delayed access to cooling is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in persons with heat stroke.” (Becker2011). Let’s check on our neighbors.

Let me know how you get through the next few days of hot temperatures. I'd love to hear from you!

 

Controlling asthma and allergies 

I’ve heard a number of people in our community talking about severe allergies and respiratory problems, such as asthma and COPD (Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) exacerbation. AccuWeather – Forecasts Health is a trusted resource for weather forecasts as they relate to health. The site offers current readings for allergies, including dust and dander, and pollens from grass, ragweed, trees and mold. It also gives an indicator of respiratory risks -- information that is valuable for those with asthma. 

Allergies and heat are just two, out of many, triggers for asthma, and asthma is a common cause of hospitalization. It is the third-leading cause of hospitalization among children up to age 4. If we can control the allergies, we can possibly lessen the incidence/severity of the asthma.

Indoor allergens can be controlled by keeping pets out of bedrooms and off of people and furniture, and by vacuuming/wet mopping floors more frequently. Bedding should be washed weekly in hot water. You can invest in a dehumidifier to keep the humidity to less than 50%. I can attest that the lower humidity helps us poor allergy sufferers! If you’re going outside to work in the elements, use a mask to cover your nose and mouth.

Most importantly, talk with your physician to create an allergy/asthma plan and take medications as directed. Medications and proper precautions can save you from the boiling point. Stay cool!

 

References:

AccuWeather. Available at http://www.accuweather.com/en/us/fort-wayne-in/46825/allergies/328790. Accessed June 21, 2012.

Becker, J.A., & Stewart, L.K. Heat-related illness. Am Fam Physician. 2011;83(11):1325-30.

CDC. (2008 data). Asthma in Indiana. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/asthma/stateprofiles/Asthma_in_IN.pdf. Accessed June 21, 2012.

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