By Dr. Brian McDonough
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – In long, extended heat waves like the one we’re having, there are serious concerns for elderly and young and fit people alike.
One of the things we see that commonly happens during extended heat waves is that people get impatient, especially people who like to be active. They stay inside and listen to the initial warnings, but when you get into the second week, the second weekend, they say, ‘I need to get outside. I have to run, I have to exercise.’ And, they don’t necessarily use common sense and that’s when they can get into trouble.
These temperatures can be dangerously high. Obviously, you have to drink plenty of fluids and if you’re going to exercise, it has to be early morning or very late.
But, the problem is even in those hours, when the temperatures are this high, you can get dehydrated rapidly. It’s very important that you use common sense, and remember this will end, and you have to stay in control.
Now, I also have particular concerns about the elderly when we have these extended heat waves. Because, initially, people will look in on them, and they’ll see if they’re okay, but as time goes on they may not be quite as attentive.
Remember, if people are on medications and they combine it with dehydration or extreme heat, there can be confusion and problems. So, even someone who understands the issue may not necessarily be okay when there’s extended heat.
It’s very important that you continue to look in on the elderly, and make sure they’re in a safe situation.