-- HealthDay staff
THURSDAY, June 9 (HealthDay News) -- With record-breaking heat
searing much of the eastern half of the United States -- and with
little relief in sight -- health experts are urging people to
protect themselves from the threats posed by oppressive
temperatures and humidity.
"The elderly, young children and infants, and people with cardiac disease and those who are taking certain medications, especially antidepressants, are most at risk for a heat stroke," noted Dr. Lisandro Irizarry, chair of the emergency department at the Brooklyn Hospital Center in New York City.
"After two or three days of heat, people -- primarily the elderly -- may exhibit signs of dehydration, including lightheadedness, nausea, confusion, difficulty concentrating, and lack of thirst because the body starts conserving fluid," he said.
Dr. Andrew R. Edwards, an associate professor of emergency
medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, agreed that as
the early season heat wave tightens its grip, people young and old
need to focus on staying safe.
In a university news release, Edwards offered these tips:
Irizarry noted that antidepressant users may be at heightened
risk because the drug "decreases the skin's ability to lose heat
through evaporation -- sweating -- which is the body's primary
means to get rid of heat." This means that people on these
medications need to be especially careful to drink lots of fluids
and stay cool.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also has
On Wednesday, temperatures soared into the 90s -- and approached
100 degrees -- throughout much of the South, the East and the
Midwest. Baltimore and Washington, D.C. both recorded temperatures
of 99 degrees, breaking records for the date. The normal high for
the date is about 82, the
Associated Press reported.
In Philadelphia the mercury hit 97 degrees, breaking a 2008
record of 95, and Atlantic City, N.J., tied a record of 98 set in
1999. Chicago hit a high of 94 degrees, the
The heat wave has been blamed for the deaths of five elderly
people in Tennessee, Maryland and Wisconsin, the news service
And a new study from Stanford University predicts that scorching
temperatures will become the new normal, with unusually hot summers
by the middle of the century. The culprit cited by the researchers:
global warming, the
For more on protecting yourself from the heat, visit the
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and
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