FROM THE EDITOR'S PEN /
The Dog Days/
The Dog Days
“I don’t know anything
about global warming, but it sure is hot around here”,
a friend of mine living in Los Angeles recently stated. In
an unprecedented weather related switcharoo, we here in
South Florida are sitting through almost unbroken string of
rain soaked days, while our friends across the nation melt
in a brutal cross country summer heat. This is of utmost
concern to caregivers as we care for our loved ones health
and well-being as well as our own.
According to the Red
usually comes in stages. The signal of the first stage is
heat cramps in muscles. These cramps can be very painful. If
you are caring for a person who has heat cramps, have him or
her stop activity and rest. If the person is fully awake and
alert, have him or her drink small amounts of cool water or
a commercial sports drink. Gently stretch the cramped muscle
and hold the stretch for about 20 seconds, then gently
massage the muscle. Repeat these steps if necessary. If the
victim has no other signals of heat-related illness, the
person may resume activity after the cramps stop.
The signals of the next,
more serious stage of a heat-related illness (often called
heat exhaustion) include--
Cool, moist, pale skin (the skin may be red right after
Dizziness and weakness or exhaustion.
The skin may or may not feel hot.
The signals of the late
stage of a heat-related illness (often called heat stroke)
Decreased alertness level or complete loss of
High body temperature (sometimes as high as 105oF).
Skin may still be moist or the victim may stop sweating
and the skin may be red, hot and dry.
Rapid, weak pulse.
Rapid, shallow breathing.
This late stage of a
heat-related illness is life threatening. Call 9-1-1 or the
local emergency number.
Wishing you coolness.