Hyperthermia warning signs

By Jodi Mohrmann, Managing editor of special projects, jmohrmann@wjxt.com
Published On: Jul 16 2014 04:37:25 PM EDT
Updated On: Jul 17 2014 07:40:00 AM EDT

When the summertime heat is turned up, some of us are more at risk than others.
That's why the National Institutes of Health is providing advice on how to handle hyperthermia, or an abnormally high body temperature brought on by hot, humid weather.

Dr. Ronan Factora is a geriatrician at Cleveland Clinic. He says older adults and people with chronic medical conditions are at higher risk.

"You have problems with regulating your body temperature when you are older and you don't sweat as well. If you have a lot of medical conditions, as well, particularly medical conditions that affect your heart or your kidneys where you have problems with excessive fluid retention or dehydration, that's also going to be a risk-factor," he explained.

Factora says signs the heat may be getting to an elderly person include bright red skin, dizziness, weakness, and confusion. This could lead to common forms of hyperthermia like heat stroke, heat cramps, or heat exhaustion.

Drinking lots of water and avoiding the heat as much as possible will decrease the risk.

Factora says if you're older and do not have air conditioning in your home, you do have some options.

"If you don't have access to air conditioning immediately where you live, then you can go look at community centers, churches, in malls, and shopping areas as places you can go and spend some time to cool off," he said.

NIH researchers says heat stroke occurs when someone's body temperature gets above 104.

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