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Keep cool in the summer heat

By Jennifer Bridge

 In the midst of summer, our extreme temperatures, high humidity and prolonged heat can make being outdoors uncomfortable and dangerous. During this time, it’s important for you to know the signs and symptoms and prevent heat-related illnesses, such as heat exhaustion, heat cramps and the most serious heat-related illness, heat stroke (also known as sun stroke).

 Heat-related illnesses occur when a person’s body cannot properly cool itself. These illnesses can occur at any age, but people who are old, young and obese, and those who have compromised immune systems or abuse alcohol and drugs are at increased risk. Even people on certain medications, such as antihistamines and antipsychotics are more susceptible to heat-related illnesses.

 Older adults are at risk for many reasons. Sweat glands, which help cool the body, often diminish in number with age, and those remaining may not function as well as they once did. Existing health problems, especially involving the heart, lung and kidneys, and some med