As we complain about Central Florida’s current heat and humidity, it’s important to take precautions to stay healthy as you try to get cool. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention remind us that heat-related illnesses and deaths are preventable, yet many still succumb to high temperatures.
A few things to remember:
* When the humidity is high like current conditions, your sweat doesn’t evaporate as quickly. That means your body can’t release heat and cool down as fast. So humidity increases your chances of getting dehydrated and sick.
* Prescription medications can affect your body’s ability to deal with heat. For example, people with high blood pressure take prescription diuretics, which can prompt dehydration.
* Other medical conditions also play a role. Those with heart disease, circulation problems, obesity and even mental illness can have more difficulties cooling off, according to the CDC.
* The elderly are especially at risk because as people age they may lose their sense of thirst. Another at risk population is children under two.
* Remember, stay hydrated all day. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to get a drink – when you feel thirst, you’re likely already dehydrated.
* Don’t drink alcohol for hydration. While a cold beer may sound like a great idea after mowing the lawn, go for water. Alcohol actually dehydrates the body.
Weekly Health Tips are brought to you by UCF Health, the College of Medicine’s physician practice. Offering primary and specialty care under one roof, UCF Health treats patients age 16 and up and accepts most major insurance plans. Two locations are now open: the original in East Orlando at Quadrangle and University boulevards just blocks from the main UCF campus, and the newest one in Medical City at Narcoossee Road and Tavistock Lakes Boulevard. Information for both facilities can be found at UCFHealth.org, or call (407) 266-DOCS to schedule an appointment.