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5 facts about heat-related illnesses

As heatwaves become increasingly common during the summer, the risk of developing a heat-related illness becomes more likely. Here are five things you should know about conditions such as heatstroke and heat exhaustion.

1. They can present in numerous ways. Symptoms of heat-related illnesses include dizziness, fainting, headache, fatigue, flushed or clammy skin, muscle cramps, confusion, heat rash and an elevated body temperature.

2. Older adults are at a higher risk. A loss of mobility can make it difficult for seniors to stay hydrated. Plus, the sensation of thirst decreases with age. Older adults who live alone are particularly vulnerable.

3. Some medications reduce heat tolerance. These include medications for high blood pressure, Parkinson’s disease, allergies and certain heart conditions. Always ask your pharmacist about the side effects of your medications.

4. Extreme heat can aggravate chronic conditions. Conditions such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, lung disease and diabetes decrease your body’s ability to adapt to changes in temperature.

5. There are ways to reduce the risks. During a heat wave, be sure to drink plenty of water, perform physical activities in air-conditioned places, reduce caffeine and alcohol intake, wear lightweight, loosefitting clothing and frequently rest.

In addition to learning the risks and signs of heat-related illnesses, be sure to check your local news for extreme heat warnings and safety tips. By staying informed, you’ll be able to safely enjoy the summer weather