Beating the Heat and Keeping Your Health

There are a wide variety of illnesses that can be worsened by excessive heat. Ane even though we’re in a mild spell here in New York, summer always poses a risk to people with chronic illnesses including multiple sclerosis, lupus, heart disease, hypertension, emphysema, and ALS. Other risk factors include medications that impede with thermoregulation, including diuretics, beta blockets, certain antipsychotics, and antihistamines. So with that in mind, it’s important to keep in mind a few basic tips to make sure you’re staying cool and staying healthy.

  • Consider purchasing an air conditioner. The cost of an air conditioner is tax-deductable with a document from your physician. Sufferers from multiple sclerosis can gt more information by calling 1-800-FIGHT-MS.
  • Consume more water, and avoid caffeine. Your body always needs more water in the heat, and it’s a bad idea to wait until you feel thirsty, as that may be miscommunicating how low on body water you are.
  • Wear lightweight, loose-fitting, and breathable clothing in light materials like cotton. Light colors can help, too.
  • Cool baths or showers, with temperatures at around 75 degrees, can provide quick and effective relief as much as twenty-five times faster than simply sitting in a cool room. 
  • Pre-Cooling! Soak in a tub of cool water for a half-hour or so before heading out into the blistering heat.
  • Consume cool products such as smoothies, popsicles, and ice cream for temporary relief. 
  • Watch what you eat and limit your salt intake. Avoid hot foods and heavy meals, and eat fresh salads and cold sandwiches instead. 
  • Seriously, avoid alcohol. It hurts your body’s ability to fight against heat stress. Knock that off.

Symptoms of heat stroke can include:

  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Muscle cramps
  • Cold, moist skin or hot, dry skin
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Headache
  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Impaired judgment
  • Bizarre behavior due to hallucinations or altered mental states
  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Coma
  • Body temperatures in excess of 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius)

Keep all this in mind, and you’ll be sure to have a safe, comfortable, healthy summer!

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