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Posts Tagged ‘Greene County Combined Health District’

Free radon test kits available

In Education, Health, Home Improvement, Local News, Technology, Uncategorized on February 2, 2015 at 2:35 pm

radon signXENIA, OH—As part of National Radon Action Month, the Regional Air Pollution Control Agency (RAPCA), in partnership with Greene County Combined Health District, is offering 1,000 free radon test kits for Miami Valley homeowners to check their homes for elevated radon levels.

Radon is a colorless, odorless soil gas that can build up in homes and may increase the risk of lung cancer for occupants. The Ohio Department of Health estimates about half of Ohio families live in homes with elevated radon levels. Last year, over 600 Miami Valley residents tested their homes for radon with free test kits provided by a grant from Ohio Department of Health.

Testing is the only way to know if elevated levels exist in a home, so Ohio Department of Health recommends all homes be tested, regardless of age, location, or construction type. Elevated indoor radon levels can be corrected with the installation of a ventilation system to direct the gas outdoors.

Homeowners interested in reducing their family’s lung cancer risk can visit http://www.rapca.org or call RAPCA at 937-225-4898 to request a kit. More radon information is available by visiting http://www.rapca.org, http://www.epa.gov/radon, or http://radon.utoledo.edu.

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For some, depression darkens the holiday season

In Children and Family, Health, Holiday, Opinion, Senior Lifestyle, sociology, Uncategorized on November 24, 2014 at 1:54 pm

DIH LOGOIt’s never great to lead off with a cliché, but there may really be a silver lining behind every dark cloud. The hard part is that it’s up to the individual to recognize and interpret it. During the holiday season, however, for some the darkness may become overwhelming and everyone else should be sensitive to those around them suffering from seasonal depression.

As the Thanksgiving Day holiday heralds in the Christmas season, it’s important to try to remember that not everyone is happy and cheerful during this time. Many people suffer from various types of clinical depression, exacerbated by the holidays.

Seasonal Affect Disorder, or SAD, is a seasonal pattern associated with a recurring depressive disorder. It’s a fact that people experience mood changes along with the seasons but some may actually experience an even more sever bout during the stressful holiday season.

According to Healthline.com, “Depression may occur at any time of the year, but the stress and anxiety of the holiday season—especially during the months of November and December (and, to a lesser extent, just before Valentine’s Day)—may cause even those who are usually content to experience loneliness and a lack of fulfillment.”

baileygeorgeNot surprisingly, depression during this time can result from loneliness. Healthline.com reports that a 1999 Canadian study of patients treated by emergency psychiatric services during the Christmas season, states the most common stressors were feelings of loneliness and “being without a family.”

Experts also suggest that part of the problem is a level of media bombardment, mostly advertising, that depicts cheerful holiday festivities, smiling families, and so on. The joyful, light-heartedness of the season might to a depressed person seem much more a requirement and painful nuisance than a genuine, heart-felt emotion.

The elderly often suffer from depression caused by any number of contributors including, serious medical problems, poor diet, loss of a spouse, chronic pain and more. Depression may worsen in the elderly, not expressly because of the holiday, but that it brings memories of happier, more fulfilling times, and it might be hard to spot.

Helpguide.org suggests that elderly patients suffering from depression might display rapid mental decline but memory of time and date, as well as awareness of the environment, remain. They may also exhibit more outward concern than usual about slipping memory and their motor skills may be normal but noticeably slower.

Regardless of age, depression is a painful illness to endure at a time of year when the sufferer is surrounded by the usual excitement of the season.  There are many ways to help combat depression.

Social isolation can be a major contributor to depression, particularly during the holidays.  Start by getting involved and being among friends and family wherever possible. Of course, sometimes, family can be the cause of stress. In those instances, it might be better to spend time with close friends or attend some kind of social activity, go to bingo at the local community center, or anything else to avoid being alone. But remember to feel free to leave an event if you feel uncomfortable. Adding stress to depression would be seriously detrimental to the purpose of the interaction.

Other ways to ward off “holiday blues” include, beginning a new tradition, volunteering at local charity centers, or get outside and take a walk or go on a bike ride.  Self-care is an important step to fighting depression. Even with decreased appetite, it’s important to remember to try to eat well, exercise and maintain a regular sleep schedule.

Seek medical treatment as well. General practice doctors can help determine what sort of specialized treatment may be beneficial. Depression is an illness with treatments available to help people live active, involved lives but nothing can happen without taking that first step. Proper treatment may help people have a happier, more meaningful holiday season.

On a final note, although it is a myth that more suicides occur between Thanksgiving and Christmas, those suffering severe depression might still be dealing with suicidal thoughts. Contact one of the local crisis lines, 24/7: Greene County Crisis Services: (513) 376-8702 or Dayton Suicide Prevention Center, Inc.: (937) 297-4777.


Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer based in Jamestown, Ohio. More at gerydeer.com

 

 

Hobby Lobby ruling sets religious freedom in business

In Business, Charities, history, Media, National News, Opinion, Politics, Religion, sociology, Uncategorized on June 30, 2014 at 11:59 am

DIH LOGOOn June 30th, the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby’s suit to be exempted from the ObamaCare mandate forcing companies to provide contraceptive coverage to employees, including the controversial Plan B, or “morning after,” drugs. Many conservative business owners equate these drugs to abortion since they’re designed to terminate a pregnancy within hours of conception.

The primary argument to the court is whether the owners or management of a corporation has the same rights to freedom of religion as an individual. The Obama administration has already set exceptions for various religious non-profit organizations, which, other than their non-profit status, are structured similarly to their for-profit counterparts.

In March of this year, according to TheHill.com, the U.S. House of Representatives, “Approved the Equitable Access to Care and Health (EACH) Act, H.R. 1814. The bill allowed people avoid buying health insurance under ObamaCare if they could cite a religious reason. People seeking an exemption would have to include sworn statements in their tax returns explaining their objection to health insurance.” In effect, all they needed to get out of paying the federal healthcare mandate (tax) was a note from home.

A further question is whether there is a fundamental business difference between a non-profit corporation and a for-profit corporation? The practical answer is, no. Charity or not, a corporation is created to protect the individual operators from legal responsibility with regard to the business. Most non-profit filings are for tax and donation purposes, a process that seems outdated and inefficient with the advent of mega churches and multi-billion-dollar evangelical organizations.

uscourtIn America, there are countless religiously-focused, non-profit corporations worth millions more than some of the largest for-profit businesses. The Christian television network, Daystar, for example has been approved by the Internal Revenue Service as a “church,” according to NPR.com news. Celebrity, sometimes politician evangelist Pat Robertson and the late Billy Graham registered with the IRS as “religious organizations,” making them exempt from most taxes. All they had to do was file disclosure papers.

According to available records, NPR.com reports that the top three evangelical television broadcasters – Christian Broadcast Network, Trinity Broadcasting Network and Daystar Television — have a combined net worth of more than a quarter of a billion dollars. It is unknown whether the corporations that operate these broadcasters have filed for religious exemption under the healthcare reform laws.

The question persists, however, that if the only difference between a for-profit corporation and these mega non-profits is an earnings disclosure, why have the distinction at all? Certainly there are for-profit companies that give away millions of dollars in charitable funds each year but still have to comply with the law in every respect. Why then are religious non-profit organizations exempt from anything, much less a controversial healthcare mandate that has American small business struggling to comply or face bankrupting penalties?

The court’s latest decision with regard to religious exemption could have long-reaching implications, and not just in the healthcare arena. Giving a for-profit entity the same constitutional protections provided to non-profit religious groups could cause a flood of lawsuits ranging from tax law to equal employment regulations. Once again, major non-profits have million-dollar earners at the top, private jets, limousines and pretty much every other extravagance thought only to exist in for-profit American business.

If a church – any church – can make a case for religious freedom from legal mandates, why can’t a business owner cite his or her – or their – own religious beliefs for the same purposes? Is the constitution not written for everyone or does it exist specifically to meet the needs of religious groups so they can avoid taxes and dodge the law at their convenience?

This argument poses a great many questions and there will likely be countless more as ObamaCare reaches further corners of commerce. But, if that’s not enough to chew on, here’s another one. What happens if a Muslim, Jewish or non-Christian group requests exemption as well? Will the Christian right fight against their having the same protections?

 

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer and contributor for WDTN-TV2’s LIVING DAYTON program. More at www.gerydeer.com.

 

Cause and effect of drug advertisements

In Business, Education, Health, National News, Opinion, television, Uncategorized on June 26, 2014 at 10:37 am

DIH LOGOAccording to a 2008 study by the peer-reviewed medical journal, PLOS Medicine, pharmaceutical companies spend nearly twice as much on marketing than research. In a review of the study, the consumer advocacy website, Consumerist.com, indicates, “Drug companies pour $57.5 billion into marketing, dwarfing the comparably paltry $31.5 billion devoted to research.”

Pharmaceutical manufacturers have rigid guidelines for promoting their products, but the question lingers: should non-over-the-counter drugs be promoted to the general public at all? The short answer is, probably not. The longer answer is more complex. Since, as a rule, Deer In Headlines deals with “fact,” not “truth,” here are some facts about drug advertising. Incidentally, if it is truth you’re interested in, check out a philosophy column (thanks Dr. Jones).

The official website of the United States Food and Drug Administration states, “Prescription drug advertisements can provide useful information for consumers to work with their health care providers to make wise decisions about treatment.” Leading the pack of heavily-marketed drugs are prescription sleep aids, blood thinners, anti-depressants and erectile dysfunction remedies. Most of the television ads for these medications appear during the day, carefully targeting certain markets.

What the general public fails to realize, however, is that these ads are intended to plant an idea in the head of the consumer who, in all their medical wisdom, will take the information to a doctor and insist on a prescription. Mission accomplished; more drugs are sold and the company’s stock goes up a quarter of a point, not to mention the fact there is one more person who simply can’t live without the latest pill. Perhaps a better understanding of how these ads are structured might help.

pillsThe FDA’s Office of Prescription Drug Promotion classifies medication advertisements into three categories: Product Claims, Reminders, and Help-Seeking ads.  The product claim ad names the drug, the treated condition and lists the benefits and risks. A reminder ad shows the name of the drug, but not its use. Finally, the help-seeking advertisement is directed at people with a particular condition for which they are trying to find a remedy. There is, however, no guideline for how much money a drug company can spend on advertising and some consumer advocates argue that it’s wrong for them to be able to spend more on marketing than research.

The fact is that it’s really hard to say exactly how much any one drug company spends on research vs. marketing because reported advertising expenditures are mixed in with the accounting category which also includes other figures, such as executive salaries. Research money is usually accounted for in a separate line item (R&D), even though it technically could be in the same classification with general operation costs.

Another fact is that everyone is a medical expert – yes that’s sarcasm. From the neighbor with every ailment more painful than the last or the relative who insists his doctor is an idiot but goes back every time his prescription runs out, self-diagnosis and treatment are a real epidemic in America.

There is also the concern that these advertisements actually plant the idea of a particular illness in the mind of the viewer who then heads to the doctor with a new problem, and a new prescription demand. Studies show that about 40-percent of all doctor visits are with the intention of getting a prescription. Since people keep going back, it’s safe to assume there are plenty of doctors obliging, and that needs to change as well.

Prescription medication should be marketed to the experts who will be prescribing it to the patient. Drug companies already spend billions on advertising and on-site sales representatives who offer samples and various other motivators to get the doctors to push their products for various ailments. The patient has no business self-prescribing and doctors need to be more responsible.

 

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer based in Jamestown, Ohio. Side effects of reading Deer In Headlines include a more open mind, alternative points of view and a better understanding of the world around you. No prescription necessary.

 

Greene County Safe Communities Coalition urges: Buckle Up – Every Trip, Every Time

In Children and Family, Education, Health, Local News on November 19, 2013 at 3:33 pm

buckle-up-logoXENIA, OH – With Thanksgiving right around the corner, people will soon flock to the roads to visit and celebrate with family and friends. The Greene County Safe Communities Coalition reminds all travelers, whether they are heading across the country or just across town, to ensure a safe arrival and a happy holiday by buckling up – Every, Trip Every Time.

“The risk of being involved in a serious or deadly car crash increases when the number of cars on the road increases, and the long Thanksgiving weekend is one of the busiest travel times of the year,” said Laurie Fox, Safe Communities Coordinator. “So we want to remind everyone that your seat belts can save your life – and those you are traveling with.”

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety administration (NHTSA), seat belts saved almost 12,000 lives nationwide in 2011. Research shows that with proper seat belt use, the risk of fatal injury to front seat passengers is reduced by 45 percent, and the risk of moderate to serious injury is reduced by 50 percent.

Such a simple step can save a life, but too many lives are being lost because some have still not gotten the message. During the 2011 Thanksgiving period, 249 passenger vehicle occupants were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes nationwide. Fifty percent of those killed were not wearing seat belts.

In 2011, 52 percent of the 21,253 passenger vehicle occupants killed in motor vehicle crashes were NOT wearing seat belts at the time of the crash.

Nationally in 2011, 62 percent of the 10,135 passenger vehicle occupants who were killed in nighttime crashes were not wearing their seat belts, compared to 43 percent during the daytime hours.

“All too often, we see crash victims who were caught up in the excitement of the Thanksgiving holiday and didn’t arrive safely at their destination,” said Lt. Doug Eck, Xenia Post Commander, Ohio State Highway Patrol. “We want to remind everyone who will be on the roads to please buckle up – Every Trip, Every Time – so you can give thanks this holiday season and enjoy the time with your loved ones.”

For more information about traveling safely during Thanksgiving, please visit www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov.

 

Greene County traffic fatalities down by 75 percent

In Education, Health, Local News on October 15, 2013 at 12:01 pm

XENIA, OH – The Greene County Safe Communities program reports that as of October 1, 2013, there have been a total of three (3) traffic fatalities in Greene County. This compares with a total of twelve (12) traffic deaths during this same time period in 2012. This is a decrease of 9, or 75%.

Safe_Communities_LogoThe crash dates reported occurred on June 1, June 25 and August 20. The top five (5) causes for the majority of Greene County crashes that have resulted in death and/or injury are following too closely, failure to yield, failure to control, improper lane change and distractions (i.e. cell phone use/texting). These deaths, while tragic, and injuries sustained were all preventable.

Drivers are encouraged to avoid all distractions, drive sober and obey all traffic signs and signals. The Safe Communities coalition will continue to work with schools, businesses and the general public to provide educational materials and information to keep Greene County citizens safe on the roadways.

The safety of Greene County residents while they are traveling on the roads is the coalition’s biggest concern. Safe Communities would like to remind all drivers to buckle up, park the phone and drive responsibly or secure a designated driver.

The Safe Communities program was developed to help communities decrease traffic injuries and deaths, increase safety awareness, decrease the amount of money spent on traffic-related injuries, and increase the number of people involved in keeping communities safe.

The next meeting of the Greene County Safe Communities Coalition is Wednesday, November 20, 9 a.m. at the Greene County Combined Health District in Xenia. The public is welcome and invited to attend. For more information, contact Laurie Fox at 937-374-5669 or email lfox@gcchd.org.

Greene County Combined Health District to offer Flu Vaccines

In Children and Family, Education, Health, Local News, Science, Senior Lifestyle on September 30, 2013 at 4:10 pm

XENIA, OH — The Greene County Combined Health District (GCCHD) has announced that the 2013 seasonal flu vaccine is now being offered. The seasonal flu vaccine is recommended for persons 6 months of age and older. Appointments are not needed. The cost for each flu shot is $25.00 for adults and $14.50 for children. Flu Mist for children is $20.00.

tosh22Cash and checks will be accepted for self-pay clients. GCCHD does accept Medicaid, CareSource, Molina or Medicare. Cards must be shown.

Starting on October 1, 2013, seasonal flu shots will be available for adults and children at GCCHD during the regular immunization clinic on Tuesdays, 8:00 – 11:00 a.m. and 12:30 – 3:00 p.m.

GCCHD will also be visiting the various senior centers in Greene County. The following is the schedule of dates, locations and times:

• Tuesday, October 1 – Cedarville Senior Center, 48 N. Main St., Cedarville; 12:30 – 2:00pm.

• Monday, October 7 – Xenia Adult Recreation & Service Center, 130 E. Church St., Xenia; 9:00am –
12:00pm.

• Tuesday, October 8 – Spring Valley Senior Center, 2551 US 42, Spring Valley; 1:30 – 3:30pm.

• Thursday, October 10 – Bryan Community Center, 100 Dayton St., Yellow Springs; 9:00 – 11:30am.

Greene County Health Commissioner, Melissa Howell, reminds everyone to maintain good health by washing hands regularly, covering coughs and sneezes, eating a balanced diet, exercising and getting the right amount of sleep.

For more information, please call Becky Dunbar at (937) 374-5636.

Over-medicated and under-educated

In Children and Family, Education, Health, Media, National News, Opinion, psychology, Science, Senior Lifestyle, Technology, Uncategorized on September 18, 2013 at 9:18 am

DIH LOGOA recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (C.D.C.) noted that at as many as two-million Americans become ill from antibiotic-resistant infections annually, killing at least 23,000. The report notes that less than half of the antibiotics prescribed for patients are unnecessary or incorrectly used increasing the potential for more drug-resistant germs to evolve, exacerbating the problem.

Over time, the use of broad-spectrum antibiotics rather than ones targeting specific infections can cause various strains of bacteria to become immune and render conventional treatment ineffective. According to C.D.C. Director, Thomas Frieden, as the trend towards overuse of antibiotics continues, “The medicine cabinet may be empty for patients with life-threatening infections in the coming years.” Additionally, the overuse of antibiotics on farms as preventative medicine in healthy animals is also a contributing factor.

All of that said, these drugs are not prescribing themselves. Doctors know better than to continually prescribe broad-spectrum antibiotics unnecessarily or to treat viral infections, for which the drug is completely ineffective. But, many still do both, either at the insistence of the patient or as a preventative measure. Beyond the issue of nagging patients who want a prescription every time they have a sniffle is the point where the medical professional should say, “no.”

medsIn addition to antibiotics, it seems as though doctors are passing out a pill for everything and never seem to try to dig deep enough to address the real cause of various health problems.  For people with chronic illness it seems like that would be extremely frustrating. Apart from something like long-term, degenerative diseases like Parkinson’s or Multiple Sclerosis, there should be a way to find the cause to a problem and treat that, rather than just trying to drown the symptoms in medication.

More often than not, patients get, maybe, 10 minutes with their doctor after a two-hour office wait only to be handed a prescription and shuffled out the door. People spend far more time filling out forms and waiting to be seen than ever actually getting attention from a person who bills hundreds of dollars an hour for a few minutes work per patient.

An additional problem arises when the drug manufacturers spend far more time and money marketing to the patient than educating the physician about the proper use and potential hazards of a medication. However unethical it should be, doctors are given trial samples and kick-backs for going with one drug-over another. All the while, patients are inundated by drug ads on television, the Internet and in periodicals with no understanding of the treatment process.

Which actually contributes to another step in the downfall of health care is the all-knowing, internet-browsing patient himself. These home-spun experts come in with a fist-full of self-diagnosis printouts from Web MD and a stack of drug ads from Cosmo.  They demand medication for what they are certain is their particular ailment and there is no swaying their shade tree expertise. Except that’s exactly what the doctors should be doing – dissuading them and refusing to prescribe medicine without a thorough examination of the problem.

So what is to be done? Unfortunately, not much can be done. Unless healthcare providers are going to be more proactive and limit use of antibiotics except for targeted need, and other drugs are prescribed only after the cause of the symptoms is determined, it’s unlikely that anything will change soon.

It just seems as if everyone is sick all the time. Chronic illness like fibromyalgia (long-term, body wide tenderness and pain) seem to be affecting more and more people and early-onset dementia appears to be far more common than it once was. Could these diseases the result of long-term misuse of various drugs, including antibiotics?

The truth is, no one really knows for sure. Many of these drugs are relatively new and scientists are only now learning how the long-term use of previous medications is affecting second and third generations. From birth defects to chronic disease, overuse of drugs and under-education of patients definitely has the potential for some serious side effects.

 

GCCHD offers back-to-school physicals and immunizations

In Children and Family, Education, Health, Local News on August 20, 2013 at 2:06 pm

imageXENIA, OH – The Greene County Combined Health District (GCCHD) is reminding parents and students that GCCHD offers Back-to-School physicals, sports physicals and immunizations. In the coming weeks, the District is also offering expanded hours for immunizations, including one clinic specifically designed for children entering Kindergarten and 7th grade.
For Back-to-School and sports physicals, an appointment is needed. The Child and Adolescent Health clinic is held on Mondays at the GCCHD main office, 360 Wilson Dr., Xenia, OH. The number to call for appointments and information is (937) 374-5655.

For Immunizations, walk-in clinics are held:

• Every Tuesday at GCCHD from 8:00 – 11:00 a.m. and 12:30 – 3:00 p.m.
• The 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month at GCCHD from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m.

A special clinic will be held on Thursday, August 29 at the main office of GCCHD from 2:30 – 6:00p.m. for students from any school district in Greene County entering Kindergarten and 7th grade ONLY. Parents are asked to bring the child’s shot record to the clinic. These immunizations meet school requirements.
Additional School District clinic dates and times are as follows:

• Tuesday, September 3: Bellbrook-Sugarcreek Schools, Cedar Cliff & Yellow Springs Schools
o 8:00 – 11:00 a.m.
o 12:30 – 3:00 p.m.
o 4:00 – 6:00 p.m.

• Tuesday, September 10: Fairborn City Schools
o 8:00 – 11:00 a.m.
o 12:30 – 3:00 p.m.
o 4:00 – 6:00 p.m.

Tuesday, September 17: Beavercreek City Schools

o 8:00 – 11:00 a.m.
o 12:30 – 3:00 p.m.
o 4:00 – 6:00 p.m.
• Tuesday, September 24: Xenia Community Schools
o 8:00 – 11:00 a.m.
o 12:30 – 3:00 p.m.
o 4:00 – 6:00 p.m.
• Thursday, September 26: Greeneview Local Schools
o 2:30 – 6:00 p.m.
For all immunizations, please bring all shot records. GCCHD accepts uninsured patients, and will bill Anthem, Medical Mutual, and various types of Medicaid, including CareSource and Molina. For these insurances, clients must present a current insurance card and parent or guardian’s photo ID in order to receive service.

Clients are responsible to pay any balance which is not covered by your insurance. There is a charge for immunization services and full or partial payment is required at time of service. For all other private insurances, you will be asked to pay GCCHD for services provided. We will provide you with a receipt to submit to your insurance company, if requested. Unfortunately, GCCHD is unable to accept credit card payments.
For more information, please call the Immunization Hotline at (937) 374-5657 or the immunization clerk at (937) 374-5668.

Greene County Combined Health District Announces “Public Health Heat Warning”

In Children and Family, Health, Local News, Science, Senior Lifestyle, Technology, Uncategorized on July 15, 2013 at 3:02 pm

dog2XENIA, OH – The upcoming days are going to be dangerously hot and humid if you’re working or playing outside, or living without air conditioning.  The Greene County Combined Health District is cautioning that weather conditions are going to remain hazardous for a few days.

The primary reason for the public notification is that GCCHD expects a stretch of days with daytime heat indices at least in the mid to upper 90’s, coupled with nighttime lows in excess of 70 degrees. These types of conditions may cause those without air conditioning to experience significant physical and mental stress. When nighttime lows fail to drop below 70 degrees, the human body has a difficult time recovering from the ongoing heat.

Greene County Combined Health District officials are stressing that everyone needs to take precautions to prevent heat-related illnesses. Physical activity should be limited as much as possible. Individuals are also encouraged to minimize prolonged exposure to high heat conditions.

It is recommended that everyone pay particular attention to the following suggestions to prevent heat-related illness:

  • Drink plenty of water and non-alcoholic fluids. Put the alcoholic beverages away until cooler weather. Alcoholic drinks can increase a person’s risk to heat-related illnesses.
  • Decrease physical activity. This is particularly advisable for joggers and high school or junior high school athletic teams. Exercise activities should occur in the morning or early in the evening. Stay in the shade as much as possible.  Greene County agencies and jurisdictions that have heat mitigation plans should implement those plans now.
  • Use air conditioning, if available. Many public buildings, libraries, malls, and other locations are air-conditioned.
  • Wear loose lightweight and light-colored cotton clothing.
  • Eat light meals.
  • Cool down with showers, baths, and recreational swimming.
  • Adjust blinds, shades, and awnings to keep out the sun.
  • Use your basement, if it is cool, during the hottest hours.
  • Be a good neighbor and check on those who may need assistance.
  • Individuals with chronic health problems, such as heart disease or lung problems, should minimize activities because the heat will add additional stress.
  • Extra caution should be taken for the elderly and young infants and children to assure that they are protected from the heat.
  • Children and pets should not be left unattended in closed vehicles. Temperatures can reach dangerous levels rapidly.
  • Individuals on various medications should check with their doctor to see if the heat puts them at increased risk.

 

Background on heat information

High temperatures and humidity stress the body’s ability to cool itself, and heat illness becomes a special concern. There are three major forms of heat illnesses: heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke, with heat stroke being a life threatening condition.

 

Heat Cramps

Heat cramps are muscle spasms that usually affect the arms, legs, or stomach. Frequently they don’t occur until sometime later after work, at night, or when relaxing. Heat cramps are caused by dehydration. Although heat cramps can be quite painful, they usually don’t result in permanent damage. To prevent them, drink water every 15 to 20 minutes. Sports drinks that replace electrolytes help prevent a loss of sodium caused by excessive sweating. If nausea occurs discontinue fluids and seek medical attention.

 

Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion is more serious than heat cramps. It occurs when the body’s internal air-conditioning system is overworked, but hasn’t completely shut down. This condition can occur when you don’t drink enough fluids to replace what you’re sweating away. The symptoms of heat exhaustion include headache, nausea, weakness, dizziness, heavy perspiration and extreme thirst.  Somebody suffering these symptoms should be moved to a cool location such as a shaded area or air-conditioned building. Have them lie down with their feet slightly elevated. Loosen their clothing, apply cool, wet cloths or fan them. Have them take sips of water or sports drinks. If nausea occurs, discontinue fluids.

 

If vomiting continues or if little to no improvement after 30 minutes, seek immediate medical attention. Victims of heat exhaustion should avoid strenuous activity for at least a day, and they should continue to drink water to replace lost body fluids.

 

Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is a life threatening illness with a high death rate. It occurs when the body has depleted its supply of water and salt, and the victim’s body temperature rises to deadly levels. A heat stroke victim may first suffer heat cramps and/or the heat exhaustion before progressing into the heat stroke stage, but this is not always the case. It should be noted that, heat stroke is sometimes mistaken for heart attack. It is therefore very important to be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of heat stroke and to check for them anytime someone collapses while in a hot environment.  The symptoms of heat stroke include confusion, irrational behavior, loss of consciousness, convulsions, lack of sweating, hot dry skin, and abnormally high body temperature. If someone is having any of these symptoms, call 911 immediately. Seconds count. It is vital to lower a heat stroke victim’s body temperature. Do not give fluids. Pour water on them, fan them, or apply cold packs until medical help arrives.