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Try and Stay Cool
August 3, 2011 - James Whipple
In the hot summer, senior citizens risk breathing problems and hyperthermia or overheating. During the summer the air can sometimes feel so hot and dense that just breathing can make you feel tired and exhausted. And, if you have a medical condition that comes with breathing problems such as emphysema, asthma, chronic bronchitis or COPD, your body is already working harder and requiring more energy because of increased oxygen demand, according to The National Institute of Health. If you have one of these diseases you are already using much of your energy just to breathe, not to mention everything you do during the day. According to the study it is not uncommon to experience a greater level of shortness of breath when exposed to extreme temperatures as your body is forced to use more energy while it struggles to maintain your body temperature. Your airways are already inflamed and irritated breathing hot air can worsen this leading to life-threatening conditions. In the past week several cases of heat stroke and heat exhaustion have been reported by the emergency rooms across the country. Heat exhaustion can cause symptoms of thirst, dizziness, weakness, lack of coordination, or nausea; and can result in extra stress on the heart and even death. Since body the brain monitors temperature, and excessive heat can cause the body to sweat which evaporates from the skin and cools the body. Being overheated for too long can be dangerous. Increased sweating and cold clammy skin are signs that your body is having trouble keeping cool. It is very important to get in cool place and drink fluids; or heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke. Heat stroke can cause fainting, confusion, bizarre behavior; dry flushed skin and abnormal pulse, inability to sweat, and deliria. Heat stroke is considered an emergency and people should seek immediate medical attention. Here are a few suggestions on what to do if you do overheat. Get out of the sun and into a cool place, air conditioning is the best. Drink more fluids that do not contain caffeine or alcohol. Shower or bathe in cool water. Lie down and rest. Most important of all, always call 9-1-1 if you are experiencing serious symptoms of overheating.
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