Old but Gold Advice for Keeping Your Cool

By Scott LaFee

September 5, 2018 6 min read

For much of the country, it has been a brutal summer, heatwise, with daily max records routinely broken. But as miserable as the weather can be for most of us, excessive heat is particularly problematic — even deadly — for older people, who may have age-related health risk factors, such as:

—Changes to skin that result in poor blood circulation or inefficient glands.

—Heart, lung or kidney diseases that cause general weakness or fever.

—High blood pressure or other conditions that require dietary changes, such as a salt-restricted diet.

—Reduced sweating caused by medications, such as diuretics or sedatives.

—Being substantially overweight or underweight.

—Being dehydrated.

Older people, particularly those at heightened risk, should stay indoors on especially hot or humid days (even more so if an air pollution alert is in effect). Drink plenty of cool fluids (nonalcoholic), and wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. Most cities also have senior centers or special places where people can get out of the heat. Or visit an indoor shopping mall, movie theater or library. You can also check out the guide from the National Institute on Aging titled "Hot Weather Safety for Older Adults" (https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/hot-weather-safety-older-adults).

Get Me That, Stat!

A new Mayo Clinic analysis of birth records between 2004 and 2014 suggests the risk of having a heart attack while pregnant, while in labor or shortly after giving birth is rising. The prevalence of heart attacks over that period rose 25 percent, perhaps attributable to women giving birth at later ages, when the risk is higher.

Counts

43: percentage of U.S. public school districts that tested campuses' drinking water for lead in 2016 and 2017.

41: percentage that did not.

16: percentage that didn't know whether water had been tested or not.

37: percentage of districts that conducted testing that found elevated levels in drinking water.

Source: U.S. Government Accountability Office

Stories for the Waiting Room

An urgent problem: A new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine says many patients are still being wrongly prescribed antibiotics to treat conditions such as allergies and colds, fueling the problem of antibiotic resistance. Researchers said nearly 46 percent of patients seen in surveyed urgent care centers received antibiotics, compared with 25 percent in emergency rooms, 17 percent in doctors' offices and 14 percent in retail clinics.

Phobia of the Week

Belonephobia: fear of pins and needles.

Number Cruncher

A Hardee's biscuit with gravy (one serving, 251 grams) contains 509 calories, 259 from fat. It has 28.7 grams of total fat, or 44 percent of the recommended total fat intake for a 2,000-calorie daily diet, according to the Calorie Count database.

It also contains 11 milligrams of cholesterol (4 percent), 1,537 milligrams of sodium (64 percent), 54.2 grams of total carbohydrates (18 percent), 3.3 grams of dietary fiber (13 percent), 2.2 grams of sugar and 10 grams of protein.

Never Say Diet

The Major League Eating record for ice cream, short form, is 16.5 pints of vanilla in six minutes, held by Miki Sudo. Contestants presumably went with plain old vanilla because eating anything more complex would have been a rocky road indeed.

Best Medicine

Seeing her friend Sally wearing a new locket, Meg asked whether there was a memento of some sort inside.

"Yes," said Sally, "a lock of my husband's hair."

"But Larry's still alive."

"I know, but his hair is gone."

Observation

"Nobody wants a pain reliever that's anything less than extra-strength. Give me the maximum allowable dosage. Figure out what will kill me, and then back it off a little bit." — comedian Jerry Seinfeld

Medical History

In 1897, physician Sir Ronald Ross made a key breakthrough when he discovered malaria parasites while dissecting a mosquito. You missed it, but Aug. 20 is known as World Mosquito Day in celebration of this discovery.

Self-Exam

Q: How many senses do you have (besides common)?

A: The easy and wrong answer is five: sight, hearing, taste, touch and smell. In fact, you have many more. Estimates range from 22 to 33 and include senses such as equilibrioception (sense of balance), nociception (sense of pain) and kinaesthesia (sense of movement).

Epitaphs

In a cemetery in Harescombe, England:

"On the 22nd of June

Jonathan Fiddle

Went out of tune."

To find out more about Scott LaFee and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

Photo credit: at Pixabay

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