HEALTH / FITNESS
Information about fitness, health, nutrition and weight loss
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In this Section....
- June Recipes
- Exercise Videos
- Take Cover When Heat Is High
July Recipes - Click Here
July brings us Canada Day and Independence Day celebrations, which means BBQs and picnics. This month we are featuring some great recipes to take to your family gathering. Enjoy the long weekend and warm weather.
We'd love to feature one of your favorite recipes in any one of our monthly issues, just send them on to us at email@example.com. Hope to hear from all of you in the following months!
Exercise Videos - Click Here
In previous issues we have featured simple exercises you can do in the comfort of your own home and without buying fancy expensive equipment. You can view these videos on our Youtube channel.
Take Cover When Heat Is High
Summer is a scorcher in the West, with temperatures soaring over 100 degrees Fahrenheit and forest fires blazing out of control in California, Nevada, and other states.
But the line on the thermometer is not the only way weathermen define heat. They have created a Heat Index, which combines heat and humidity to create a sort of 'misery index.' The temp may be 100 degrees, but combined with humidity (which inhibits sweat from evaporating off the skin and cooling the body), the Heat Index may climb into the danger zone at 105 degrees or higher. By danger zone, they mean: danger of vomiting in public, collapsing, suffering brain damage, or even dying.
Who's Most Likely to Suffer?
According to the CDC, the elderly, children under 4, people who are overweight, those who become dehydrated, the mentally ill, or people with medical conditions, or who are on certain medications seem to be the most susceptible targets of a heat wave.
A healthy body temperature is maintained by the nervous system. As the body temperature increases, the body tries to maintain its normal temperature by transferring heat. Sweating and blood flow to the skin (thermoregulation) help us keep our bodies cool. A heat-related illness occurs when our bodies can no longer transfer enough heat to keep us cool.
A high body temperature (hyperthermia) can develop rapidly in extremely hot environments, such as when a child is left in a car in the summer heat. Hot temperatures can also build up in small spaces where the ventilation is poor, such as attics or boiler rooms. People working in these environments may quickly develop hyperthermia.
High temperature caused by a fever is different from a high body temperature caused by a heat-related illness. A fever is the body's normal reaction to infection and other conditions, both minor and serious. Heat-related illnesses produce a high body temperature because the body cannot transfer heat effectively or because external heat gain is excessive.
Often, environmental and physical conditions can make it difficult to stay cool. Heat-related illness is often caused or made worse by dehydration and fatigue. Exercising during hot weather, working outdoors, and overdressing for the environment increase your risk. Caffeine or alcohol also increase your risk for dehydration. Many medications increase your risk of a heat-related illness. Some medications decrease the amount of blood pumped by the heart (cardiac output) and limit blood flow to the skin, so your body is less able to cool itself by sweating. Other medicines can alter your sense of thirst or increase your body's production of heat. If you take medications regularly, ask your health professional for advice about hot-weather activity and your risk of getting a heat-related illness.
Other things that may increase your risk of a heat-related illness include:
- Age. Babies do not lose heat quickly and they do not sweat effectively. Older adults do not sweat easily and usually have other health conditions that affect their ability to lose heat.
- Obesity. People who are overweight have decreased blood flow to the skin, hold heat in because of the insulating layer of fat tissue, and have a greater body mass to cool.
- Summer heat waves. People who live in cities are especially vulnerable to illness during a summer heat wave because heat is trapped by tall buildings and air pollutants, especially if there is a high level of humidity.
- Chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart failure, and cancer. These conditions change the way the body gets rid of heat.
- Travel to wilderness areas or foreign countries with high outdoor temperatures and humidity. When you go to a different climate, your body must get used to the differences (acclimate) to keep your body temperature in a normal range.
Most heat-related illnesses can be prevented by keeping the body cool and by avoiding dehydration in hot environments. Home treatment is usually all that is needed to treat mild heat-related illnesses. Heat exhaustion and heatstroke need immediate medical treatment.
Heat-related illnesses include:
People suffer a heat-related illness when the body's temperature system is overloaded. The body is sweating, but the sweat is not evaporating due to humidity. Eventually, like a runny egg white, the brain begins to "cook." The most common heat-related illness is heat exhaustion. This usually builds up over several days of activities in a hot environment, without proper replacement of fluids. Wham, it can hit you.
The symptoms are:
- Heavy sweating
- Turning pale
- Muscle cramps
- Nausea or vomiting
- Cool, clammy skin
- Fast breathing
To help the person, provide cool fluids immediately, anything nonalcoholic, but preferably water. Have the person lie down inside or take a cool bath or shower and then rest. If the person's symptoms are severe or there are pre-existing medical problems, such as high blood pressure heart disease, then you need to get medical attention right away.
If someone experiencing heat exhaustion isn't treated, it can progress to heatstroke, also known as sunstroke. This is very serious. Heatstroke occurs when the body simply cannot control its temperature anymore and the body's temp rockets to 106 degrees or higher within 10 minutes to 15 minutes. This can cause permanent brain damage or death if not treated immediately. Heatstroke is a medical emergency. Even with immediate treatment, it can be life-threatening or cause serious long-term problems
The symptoms of heatstroke are:
- Extremely high body temperature of 103 degrees (by oral thermometer) or more
- Red, hot, dry skin (lack of sweating)
- Rapid, pounding pulse
- Throbbing headache
If someone faints or stops making sense near you:
- Call 911 immediately.
- While the EMTs are en route, get the victim to a shady area or inside.
- Get the person cool immediately. Do whatever you have to -- wet compresses, a cool shower, spray them with water from a hose, wrap in a cool, wet sheet and fan them.
- Do not give them fluids to drink. If vomiting occurs, turn the person on the side.
Heat cramps are due to muscle spasms, usually in the abdomen, arms, or legs. This is usually a result of so much sweating that the body is low on sodium. People on a low-sodium diet have to watch for this.
People with heart problems or who are on low-sodium diets need to seek medical attention right away for heat cramps. If you or someone you know gets heat cramps, stop all activity and get inside. Drink a clear juice or sports drink (if you are on a low-sodium diet, check with the doctor first). Do not go back outside for several hours, even if the cramps subside, because further exertion could lead to heat exhaustion or heatstroke. If the cramps last more than an hour, check with a doctor.
Heat rash (prickly heat which occurs when the sweat ducts to the skin become blocked or swell, and cause discomfort and itching.
Heat edema (swelling in the legs and hands, which can occur when you sit or stand for a long time in a hot environment.
Heat tetany (hyperventilation and heat stress), which is usually caused by short periods of stress in a hot environment.
Heat syncope (fainting), which occurs from low blood pressure when heat causes the blood vessels to expand (dilate) and body fluids move into the legs because of gravity.
When recognized in the early stages, most heat-related illnesses, such as mild heat exhaustion, can be treated at home. Stop your activity, and rest. Get out of direct sunlight and lie down in a cooler environment, such as shade or an air-conditioned area. Elevate your feet. Remove all unnecessary clothing. Cool down by applying cool compresses or having a fan blow on you. Place ice bags under your arms and in your groin area, where large blood vessels lie close to the skin surface, to cool down quickly. Drink rehydration drinks, juices, or water to replace fluids. Drinks such as sports drinks that contain electrolytes work best. Drink 2 qt of cool fluids over 2 to 4 hours. You are drinking enough fluids if your urine is normal in color and amount, and you are urinating every 2 to 4 hours. Total rehydration with oral fluids usually takes about 36 hours, but most people will begin to feel better within a few hours. Rest for 24 hours, and continue fluid replacement with a rehydration drink. Rest from any strenuous physical activity for 1 to 3 days.
Dress in as few clothes as possible during hot weather. Keep your home, especially sleeping areas, cool.