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     We all love when summer rolls in: warm breezes, picnics, walks in the woods, boating, swimming and vacations. However, with all this summertime fun comes the very real danger of hyperthermia – an illness

resulting from being too hot for too long. Some of the symptoms of hyperthermia are:

  • *      Swelling of the ankles and feet.
  • *      Dizziness.
  • *      Cramping of the legs, arms, or stomach.
  • *      Nausea and extreme sweating.

     Our bodies work pretty well at maintaining a reasonable temperature by producing sweat when we are too warm. The sweat then lies on the skin, evaporates, and cools the surface of our skin, keeping our body temperature where it should be. Yet, for the old, this “thermostat” may not work as effectively for various reasons – medications being taken (i.e., beta blockers or diuretics), preexisting heart or respiratory conditions, being overweight, having a diet low in salt, drinking too much alcohol or caffeine, and being in poor physical condition.

     Staying healthy in the summer is a matter of practical choices – if you make those choices based on sound decision making skills, rather than impulse, you and your elder care recipients will not only live comfortably through our summer heat, but also enjoy yourselves.

     And, don’t forget about those precious pets of ours. Keep them cool, with plenty of drinking water. Never leave your pet in the car, even with the windows cracked.

     Keep citronella candles away from your pets and rely on your veterinarian’s advice when it comes to medicated shampoos, flea and tick medication, and grooming. Have a great summer by staying healthy and cool.

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