Extreme heat: Slow down and drink more water

The heat is on. The thermometer is climbing around us, reaching close to the 90s again, and the humidity can make it even more uncomfortable. Even if you are an avid Pokemon Go fan, you still need to be aware of the risks of heat-related illness.

Extreme heat is defined by www.ready.gov as two to three days of high heat and humidity above 90 degrees. During these periods evaporation is slowed. The body has to work harder to stay at a normal temperature, which can cause death.

If you go to www.cdc.gov/disasters/estremeheat/warning.html, you will find a handy chart that lists the heat-related illnesses: heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps, sunburn and heat rash. Also on that chart are the symptoms and what to do.

Heat-related illness occurs when a person’s body cannot properly cool itself. Often the body can’t cool down fast enough resulting in brain damage and damage to other organs. Factors that may contribute to heat-related illness are: high humidity, obesity, fever, dehydration, prescription drug use, heart disease, mental illness, poor circulation, sunburn and alcohol use.

Anyone can be affected by extreme heat, but at higher risk are adults over age 65, children under the age of 4, people with mental disorders, have chronic illnesses or take some kinds of medications.

If you are a caretaker of someone, check on that person a minimum of twice a day during periods of extreme heat. Make sure they are drinking enough water to stay hydrated. He or she needs access to an air-conditioned area and know how to keep himself cool., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises. Caretakers should know and recognize the signs of heat stress.

The goals are to stay cool and to stay hydrated. (Hug that A.C. or at least keep company with it.) People have a tendency to get busy and forget to drink water, leaning toward chronic dehydration. If you are restricted in fluid intake by doctor’s orders, you should ask how much water you should drink during a heat emergency. Otherwise, drink more water, even if you don’t feel thirsty, advises the CDC.

Dehydration affects how your body works. You lose water through sweating, breathing, tears, saliva, diarrhea, vomiting, and using the restroom.

In the workplace, heat-related illness also is possible. Recommendations through NIOSH can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/heatstress/recommendations.html.

Drinking alcohol during periods of extreme heat is not recommended. Alcohol can prevent the body from regulating temperature and deplete body fluids that can result in dehydration and heat exhaustion.

The best advice, per ready.gov, is to find air-conditioning avoid strenuous activities, watch for heat illness, wear light clothing, drink plenty of fluids, watch for heat stroke, heat exhaustion, and heat cramps. Check on family members and neighbors and never never leave people or pets in a closed car.

Addiction has no address, but Family Recovery Center does. For more information about the education, prevention and treatment programs for substance abuse and related behavioral issues, contact the agency at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468; or e-mail, info@familyrecovery.org. FRC is funded in part by Columbiana County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board.

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