Seniors Beat the Heat - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Kennett, MO

Seniors Beat the Heat

August 8, 2007 -- Posted at 4:30 a.m. CST

Many people in Region Eight are concerned about the Heat Wave and their health. The Arthritis Foundation is holding a stretch and flexibility class at the Sheryl Crow Aquatics Center in Kennett. The program helps people, many of them seniors, keep moving, stay in shape, and they get to do it in a cool way... the pool. By staying in shape, they're better apt to beating the heat.

(AP) - The Arkansas Health Department reports the state's second heat-related death of the year. The department did not identify the person or say when the death occurred, but said the person was elderly and lived in central Arkansas.

The state recorded the first heat-related death of the year last month with the death of a middle-aged person in central Arkansas.

The state agency compiles heat-related death statistics from coroner reports and those sometimes take weeks to arrive.

A heat advisory was in effect today for counties in east Arkansas and residents in the rest of the state were being advised by the National Weather Service to take precautions.

Last summer, Arkansas had seven heat-related deaths. In 2005, the state had eleven deaths from the heat. The elderly, the very young and people with health problems are most likely to fall ill from the heat, but anyone can be stricken.

The following heat disorders are progressive and should be attended to immediately:

Heat cramps- These cause prolonged muscular pain as a result of muscle spasm due to severe salt depletion due to heavy sweating. Treatment includes salt replacement, cooling down and gentle massage.

Heat exhaustion- This is the most common illness caused by heat and often occurs while the person is working outside or attending outside events in extremely hot, humid weather. The victim may complain of weakness and feel faint. Other symptoms include dizziness, nausea, headache and confusion. The person should be moved to a cooler place, and wet cloths applied for cooling down. Fluid and salt should be replaced. Depending on the severity of the illness, hospitalization and intravenous fluid replacement may be necessary. This condition usually comes just before heat stroke.

Heat stroke (also called sunstroke)-This is a life-threatening condition in which the victim's temperature-control system stops working. Sweating stops completely, and the body's temperature can rise so high that the nervous system, the brain and other organs can be damaged permanently. Death may occur if the body is not cooled quickly. The symptoms of heat stroke include sudden high fever, dry skin, delirium, convulsions and seizures. Heat stroke is a medical emergency--call 911 and cool the person as fast as you can. Ice, a cold bath, and wet sheets are recommended until medical help arrives.

Those who work, exercise, or participate in strenuous activity, such as football practice, for an hour or more during intense heat may lose up to two quarts of body water. If you must pursue intense activity during hot weather, follow these safety tips:

  • Fluid and salt replacement are crucial to avoid heat risks. Drink plenty of water and replace the salt lost by sweating with salt tablets or with commercial drinks prepared for this purpose. Drink more water than usual before exercising or working in the heat. (If you are elderly or taking medication, ask your doctor about fluid intake recommendations.)
  • Schedule your strenuous activity during the coolest time of the day.
  • Monitor how you feel. If you have difficulty maintaining your regular pace, slow down.

Elderly people should avoid staying shut-up indoors during heat waves without using air conditioning.

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