AltHealth: Summer Advisories

HEAT

The first heat wave of 2019 has come and gone, leaving a few fatalities in its wake. In the US nationwide, at least six deaths were caused by excessive heat. And on Sunday, July 1, three dogs died in Jamestown after being left in a car with the windows rolled up. It was nearly 100 degrees F that day. Temperatures inside the car were calculated to be as high as 116 degrees F, with the temperature of the dashboard being as hot as 157 degrees F. There is a special hell reserved for pet owners like these.

What is somewhat scary is that temperatures as high as 114.6 degrees F (45.9 C) were recently reported in southern France; temperatures rose to 107.6 degrees F (42 C) even in Paris. Our world is heating up like the inside of a car, and we do not want to become trapped inside. The effects of excessive heat are no joke – Public Health England estimated a total of 863 “excess” deaths over the summer 2018.

The really dangerous thing about the effects of excess heat is that they can cloud one’s better judgement. In 2014, Canadian tennis pro Frank Dancevic began seeing comic book characters on the court before losing his balance, and then consciousness, during a record heat wave. Confusion and dizziness are common effects of exposure to excess heat. Our brains just don’t work right.

I’ll make this alert clear and simple: If you, or someone you are with, are exposed to prolonged excessive heat and experience ANY of the aforementioned symptoms, get help immediately. If you have muscle cramps or weakness, exhaustion, heat rash or swelling in the ankles, or experience either an excessive amount of, or complete lack of, sweating, the CDC recommends the following:

• Get medical aid. If you are with someone who is suffering, stay until help arrives.

• Move to a cooler, shaded location.

• Remove as many clothes as possible (including socks and shoes).

• Apply cool, wet cloths or ice to head, face or neck. Spray with cool water.

• Drink, or encourage the suffering person to drink, water, clear juice or a sports drink.

• Move fast. Without treatment, you or another could suffer a potentially deadly heat stroke.

For more info, visit cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/warning.html

TICKS

It doesn’t seem possible, but tick-borne illnesses have increased again this year. My friend, Dr. H, has had “a boat load of lyme and tick bites,“ along with some new ones I’d never heard of, Babesia and Anaplasma. I looked them up – yet more tick-borne illnesses. New England has always been a favorite breeding ground, and this year our marshes and greenery have spawned a burgeoning horde of the creepy little things.

Some general advice on how to avoid infestation:

• Avoid grassy areas and shrubs where ticks lay in wait, especially in marshy areas. Walk in the center of the path if hiking.

• Wear light-colored clothing; it makes ticks easier to spot. Connect your clothing – wear long pants and tuck them into your socks.

• Apply insect repellant; make sure it is made to work on ticks! It helps to treat your clothes with Permethrin, a pesticide that effectively repels ticks.

• When you get home, peel off your clothes and do a body check, and don’t forget to check your pets!

• Remove plants in your yard that attract deer, and use barriers to keep critters out.

For updates on RI Tick news, visit health.ri.gov/disease/carriers/ticks

POOL SAFETY

The CDC is warning Americans to take precautions against “crypto,” a fecal parasite that can be transmitted via swimming pools. Crypto is immune to chlorine and filters, so the only way to prevent it is to keep anyone who is sick from getting in your pool. Avoid public pools that do not have strict standards. If you experience diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and/or fever, see a doctor; and if you have been recently in a pool, NOTIFY anyone else who may have been affected.

For more info on Crypto, visit cnn.com/2019/06/30/health/crypto-outbreaks-pools-cdc-warning/index.html

Have a safe and happy summer.

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