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Nine-year-old to walk to stop diabetes

Fundraising garage sale this weekend to benefit walk 

 

Preston Ostrom

Preston Ostrom

Most nine-year-olds are active and energetic. So earlier this year, when Preston Ostrom, son of Kurt and Abby Ostrom, of Kent City, started drinking a lot of water, and wanting to sleep all the time, his mom started asking him questions about his strange behavior. He just wasn’t himself.

When she checked with the school, the school said he wasn’t participating anymore, wasn’t his normal self, and his face was red most of the time. Then they called and told his mom that Preston fell asleep in class. So Preston’s mom googled his symptoms, and found that he could have diabetes.

She called and made an appointment with the doctor. The doctor thought it was just something viral, but his mom insisted they test for diabetes. After five minutes of being tested, Preston was taken to the emergency room for high blood sugar.

“After 5 months of learning how to manage diabetes, the shots and sugar checks are ok, but learning a new way to eat is a real struggle for me,” said Preston. “But I’ve learned diabetes doesn’t define me. I’m still the same kid and I can be anything I want to be. Maybe even playing football for the U of M!”

According to Preston’s aunt, Lori Ostrom, Preston is walking in the American Diabetes Association’s Step Out Walk to stop diabetes event at Rosa Parks Circle in Grand Rapids on October 5. “It’s his 10th birthday, so it’s extra special to him. We are joining him and trying to raise funds.”

She will be having a fundraising garage sale this weekend, September 13 and 14, at her home at 13383 Shaner Avenue, between 16 and 17 Mile, to help raise $1,000 for the walk. All proceeds from the garage sale will be donated to Preston’s Team for the Step Out event.

 

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West Nile Virus confirmed in horses

Residents should be diligent about mosquito control

 

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) State Veterinarian Dr. James Averill confirmed West Nile Virus (WNV) in two horses last week—one in Kent County and one in Ingham County—and reminds owners to get their horses vaccinated against the disease. WNV is a mosquito-borne disease affecting both humans and animals causing influenza-like symptoms and hospitalization in infants and older people who may be weak from other illnesses.

“Horses can be sentinel animals for what is going on around us. If a horse is sick, you can be sure there is reason to be cautious,” Averill said. “Signs of WNV in horses may include stumbling, tremors, skin twitching, struggling to get up, and facial paralysis, difficulty passing urine, a high temperature, impaired vision, and seizures. This is a very serious illness, and horses may ultimately have to be euthanized.”

Since West Nile Virus is spread to horses through the bite of an infected mosquito, protection measures reducing exposure to mosquito bites should be adopted. Horse owners should follow these tips to prevent mosquito-borne illness:

1. Vaccinate. WNV vaccines are inexpensive and readily available. It is not too late.

2. Use approved insect repellants to protect horses and follow label instructions.

3. If possible, put horses in stables, stalls, or barns, preferably under fans.

4. Eliminate standing water and drain troughs, and large containers at least once a week.

As of September 9, 12 human cases of WNV had been reported in Michigan in various counties. Blood donor screening provides an important early warning of WNV activity. Most people who are infected with WNV do not develop an illness, but the virus might be temporarily present in their blood. Because people may not know they have been infected, all donated blood is screened and samples are reported as “probable” cases, pending follow-up and testing of the donors. Last year, 202 WNV human illnesses and 17 human fatalities were reported in Michigan.

In addition, birds from 46 out of Michigan’s 83 counties have been found dead and reported to have WNV. Five counties also identified WNV positive mosquito pools (Bay, Kent, Midland, Saginaw, and Tuscola) from 3,128 mosquito pools and 43,393 mosquitoes tested.

Michigan is screening for five arboviruses: West Nile Virus, St. Louis Encephalitis,  Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), LaCrosse Encephalitis , or Powassan. The only mosquito-borne viruses that appear to be active right now are EEE (reported in a Van Buren County horse last week) and WNV. See up to date info at  www.michigan.gov/emergingdiseases.

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Five germ-fighting tips to keep kids healthy this school year

While you can’t avoid germs, you can take steps to strengthen your family’s immunity and overall health. Soccer champion, Christie Rampone with daughters Reece and Rylie.

While you can’t avoid germs, you can take steps to strengthen your family’s immunity and overall health. Soccer champion, Christie Rampone with daughters Reece and Rylie.

(StatePoint) School is a great place to learn, play and make friends. Unfortunately it’s also a great place for germs to get very well acquainted….with your family! With 20 to 30 kids in a classroom and even more on the playground, it’s hard to avoid the germs that cause such illnesses as colds, flus and more.

Three-time Gold Medalist, wife and busy mom of two, Christie Rampone knows the importance of good health. As captain of the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team, she travels over two hundred days a year, often with her young children in tow. So stress, fatigue and staying healthy are daily battles. Since days off are not an option for Rampone, she is offering five “stay healthy” tips that parents can follow all school year long:

• Eat healthy: It’s no secret, a balanced diet is key for a healthy immune system. By focusing on a variety of fruits and vegetables and avoiding processed foods and sugary snacks, your family will get the nutrition it needs to fight off germs during the school year.

“Some of my favorite healthy snacks are carrots, celery and apples. They are easy to pack and extremely nutritious,” says Rampone. “The trick is to create variety, because kids tend to grow tired of the same things quickly.”

• Get plenty of exercise: Frequent, moderate exercise is important for good health and strong immunity.  On a daily basis, encourage kids to play sports, run, bike ride or dance, all to keep their bodies fit, hearts pumping strong and minds happy. Better yet, join in on the fun yourself!

• Sleep at least seven hours a night: Sleep is crucial to good health, both mentally and physically. A recent study showed that when you get less than seven hours sleep at night, you’re three times more likely to come down with a cold or flu.

• Take supplements as needed: Government recommendations call for five to eight servings of fruits and vegetables a day. But how many of us really get them?  To help fill the gaps, look for nutritional supplements supported by published clinical research. Rampone, who has battled Lyme disease, which wreaks havoc on the immune system, has been using such supplements for herself and her entire family.

• Don’t forget about you: As a parent, your first priority is usually the kids. But you need to make sure that you also take care of yourself too, especially during the chaotic school and work week. Make sure that you drink enough water and get a few minutes each day to relax and recharge your immune battery.

More tips to keep kids healthy this school year can be found at www.epicorimmune.com.

 

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West Nile Virus in Kent County

From the Kent County Health Department

 

More than 40 human cases of West Nile Virus (WNV) infection were confirmed in Kent County residents last year. The caseload prompted staff at the Kent County Health Department to trap and test mosquito populations this summer. Positive results from this testing are meant to serve as an early warning system for the presence of the virus in Kent County. Last week, testing of mosquitoes collected at a random site in West Michigan

during the week yielded a result that was preliminarily positive for WNV.

“This test result confirms that the mosquitoes carrying West Nile Virus are likely in our county,” said Adam London, Administrative Health Officer of the Kent County Health Department. “This information should encourage residents take steps to protect their families from mosquitoes.”

Only one case of illness has been confirmed in Michigan, in St. Joseph County, so far this year.

The Kent County Health Department recommends the following:

*At home, be sure you are not making it easy for mosquitoes to breed. Make sure to eliminate any standing water. Empty water from birdbaths, flower pots, swimming pool covers, buckets, barrels, and cans twice a week. Make sure rain gutters are clear of debris. Throw out tarps, old tires and other items that could collect water.

*Use insect repellent when outdoors. Apply repellent to clothing and exposed skin, and always follow directions on the product label.

*Don’t apply repellent under clothing, or on cuts, wounds or irritated skin. You should not apply repellent around the eyes or mouth, and if using spray, apply spray to your hands first, and then apply to face.

*Repellent should not be used on infants under 2 months old at all. KCHD recommends putting netting over the infant’s stroller. Products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus should not to be used on children under three years of age.

*When using repellent on children, put it on your hands first, then on the child. Children tend to put their hands in or near their mouths, so don’t apply repellent to a child’s hands.

*After you and your children get back indoors, wash off the repellent with soap and water, and wash treated clothing before wearing again.

*Avoid areas where mosquitoes are likely to be, such as wooded areas or swampy land.

West Nile Virus can produce a range of symptoms in humans. According to the CDC, most people infected with WNV will have no symptoms, though up to 20 percent may develop mild illness with symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches, rash, and swollen lymph glands. Some people will develop severe illness, with severe headaches, high fever, stiff neck, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, paralysis, and rarely, death. Persons 55 and over have the highest risk of severe disease.

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Breastfeeding moms: Tips for long-term success

August is National Breastfeeding month

HEA-Breastfeeding-month1(BPT) – No one argues the benefits of breastfeeding – 77 percent of babies start out being breastfed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The problem is that six months later, only 16 percent of babies are exclusively breastfed. What’s causing the significant drop off?

Both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Surgeon General recommend exclusive breastfeeding until six months of age. And while breastfeeding and breast-pumping rates continue to grow, according to research from Medela, only 30 percent of moms are satisfied with their ability to meet their goals as well as national goals for breastfeeding.

Though breastfeeding is natural, the technique is a learned skill. Many new moms struggle with the task within the first months of their baby’s life, and frustrations paired with difficulties cause them to give up too quickly.

HEA-Breastfeeding-month2Moms-to-be can increase the likelihood of breastfeeding success with the right education and appropriate tools. Here are five expert tips for expectant parents to prepare themselves for a successful breastfeeding journey:

1. Get tools and supplies covered by the Affordable Care Act.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is redefining health care in America, and breastfeeding moms in particular are benefitting. While changes vary among insurance plans, the ACA now requires insurance companies to cover breastfeeding support and supplies. This may include lactation consultation, breast pumps and other health supplies needed for moms and babies to successfully breastfeed. For information on the ACA, how to talk to your insurance provider and more, visit www.breastfeedinginsurance.com. It’s important to have your questions answered and to be as knowledgeable as possible before baby arrives.

2. Educate yourself before baby’s arrival.

Reading books and watching videos can be extremely helpful for moms-to-be who want to breastfeed. Because there is a lot to learn, an online class can be particularly beneficial. The Medela Breastfeeding University is a 90-minute online course developed by health care professionals that walks moms through what to expect during pregnancy as their bodies change, what to expect at the hospital, how to transition at home and work, and even what fathers and grandparents can do to support breastfeeding efforts. Available in both English and Spanish, the $25 course fee will be donated to the Ronald McDonald House, plus moms who complete the course will receive a $25 coupon for a breastfeeding Accessory Starter Set. Visit-medelabreastfeedingu.com to learn more.

Use the code RELjN5GmY for a free registration for Medela Breastfeeding University in English, and use code RELSPqT6XAK to register in Spanish. Moms who use the free registration codes and complete the course are still eligible to receive the $25 coupon.

3. Build a support system

Breastfeeding takes time and dedication. Having a support system can help women overcome obstacles and successfully breastfeed for six months or longer. Spouses, family members and friends can all provide important support. Expert support can help as well, particularly when it comes to overcoming any hurdles such as latching problems or low-supply concerns. Consider meeting with a certified lactation consultant or join a support organization like La Leche League International or the Nursing Mothers’ Council. Your local Women, Infants and Children (WIC) office can also provide excellent breastfeeding support.

4. Prepare for comfortable breastfeeding at home

A few items can make breastfeeding at home easier and more comfortable for moms and babies. Some top supplies to consider stocking at home include a breastfeeding pillow to help support and position baby correctly, a rocking chair or glider, and multiple burping clothes to quickly clean up messes. Nursing bras, washable or disposable bra pads, and lanolin ointment are helpful also. Some women like to stock their breastfeeding area with bottled water, small snacks or reading material that they can enjoy while bonding with baby.

5. Prepare for heading back to work

With the right tools and a little preparation, mothers can continue breastfeeding while working. Federal law states employers must provide reasonable break times for employees to express breast milk for one year after a child’s birth. Employers must also provide a comfortable, private area that is free of intrusion, other than the bathroom. Talk with your employer or human resources contact about your intent to express milk during work hours. A double-electric pump and storage containers are good supplies to keep at work. Expressed milk can be safely stored at room temperature for four to six hours, in the refrigerator for three to eight days at 39 degrees or lower, and in the freezer for six to 12 months at 4 degrees or lower, according to www.BreastmilkGuidelines.com.

Stay connected to your baby, even when you’re not there. To learn more, visit www.medela.com.

 

 

 

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Heeren Brothers recalls cantaloupe

Heeren Brothers Produce is recalling approximately 5,400 cantaloupes because of a possible health risk to consumers.

The produce, which was distributed to small, independent grocers in Michigan July 23-26, has the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes and should be discarded and not consumed. The cantaloupes are Athena Cantaloupes, but have no stickers or other markings that identify them as such.

The Kent County Health Department is recommending those who may have eaten the cantaloupe to contact a health care provider if they notice symptoms of illness in the coming weeks, especially those who may already be at high risk for illness. The FDA tested the cantaloupe and says it found the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes, which can cause the infection Listeriosis in some people. Listeriosis can be fatal in high-risk populations.

The Kent County Health Department has not received any complaints of illness due to the cantaloupe recall as of August 6. “Listeriosis infection has an incubation period that ranges from three days to ten weeks,” said Adam London, Administrative Health Officer of Kent County. “We are concerned about people who are vulnerable to illness: newborns, older adults, those with compromised immune systems, and women who are pregnant.”

Listeriosis is a foodborne illness that causes about 1600 infections annually in the United States. Symptoms of Listeriosis include fever and muscle aches, sometimes preceded by diarrhea, stomach cramping or vomiting. If you start to notice these symptoms and believe you may have eaten a potentially contaminated cantaloupe, contact your health care provider immediately. In pregnant women, Listeriosis can cause a variety of health complications for the fetus, including miscarriage and stillbirth. Other symptoms include headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, and convulsions. Even though Listeriosis is treatable with antibiotics, it has a high death rate among the food-borne infections.

Listeria monocytogenes is an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, the elderly or others with weak immune systems. Healthy individuals may suffer short-term symptoms, such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain or diarrhea. Listeria can cause miscarriages and stillbirths in pregnant women.

After receiving notice from the FDA, Heeren Brothers Produce immediately alerted retailers and requested that they remove the produce from their shelves. Heeren Brothers Produce has also contacted the supplier of the cantaloupes. The source of the potential issue is still under investigation. Heeren Brothers Produce is cooperating fully with the FDA.

Consumers who have questions may contact Heeren Brothers Produce at 616.452.2101 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Here are tips from the FDA regarding melon safety:

Consumers and food preparers should wash their hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after handling any whole melon, such as cantaloupe, watermelon, or honeydew.

Scrub the surface of melons, such as cantaloupes, with a clean produce brush under running water and dry them with a clean cloth or paper towel before cutting. Sanitize your scrub brush after each use, to avoid transferring bacteria between melons.

Promptly consume cut melon or refrigerate promptly. Keep your cut melon refrigerated at, or less than 40 degrees F (32-34 degrees F is best), for no more than 7 days. Discard cut melons left at room temperature for more than 4 hours.

More information on Listeriosis can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/listeria/.

 

 

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We’re no longer no. 1, but we’re still too fat, says physician


HEA-scales
Five myths that misinform our efforts to slim down

We’re not No. 1 anymore. Mexico, according to the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization, has surpassed the United States as the fattest nation in the world.

An estimated 70 percent of the population is overweight, and about one-third of Mexicans are obese. Just one fat-related disease, diabetes, accounts for nearly 70,000 Mexican deaths per year.

“But this doesn’t mean our health to the north has gotten better – it just means others have gotten worse, and the dubious distinction of who is the world’s most obese nation is debatable,” says Dr. James L. Hardeman, who has seen firsthand the consequences of unhealthy habits during his 30 years as a practicing physician.

“For one, we’ve been fatter longer than Mexico has and yet we still haven’t sufficiently dealt with our national epidemic of fat-based disease. Our overweight and obese percentages are neck and neck with Mexico’s, and some of this is due to misinformation.”

Dr. Hardeman, author of “Appears Younger than Stated Age,” a pragmatic guide to looking younger, debunks some of the myths that aren’t helping dieters:

• Myth: Thirty minutes of exercise three times a week is sufficient. Moderate exercise may work for the 25-year-old with a reasonably healthy diet. When we are young, our basal metabolic rate (BMR) rages like a furnace. Unfortunately, our BMR decreases 2 to 3 percent each decade after age 25. That means we have to make up for that decrease with either better eating habits, more exercise, or both – if we want to maintain a healthy weight. For those who are older, overweight or obese, a stronger commitment is necessary, including an hour’s worth of exercise at least five times a week.
• Myth: Gaining weight with age is healthy because it’s natural. Metabolism slows with age, causing many to put on the pounds. However, maintaining your Ideal Body Weight (IBW), which factors in height, gender and frame size, will keep you feeling and looking younger if you do not slowly gain weight over time. Also, casually accepting some weight gain over time can lead to massive weight gain considering our largely sedentary lifestyles and easy availability of quick, fatty meals.

• Myth: You should drink at least eight glasses of water per day. Humans posses a sensitive thirst center in a part of the brain called the hypothalamus, which responds to dehydration and tells us to drink water. The amount of water needed for each person varies; so we don’t need to target a set amount because our thirst will tell us. However, drinking plenty of water may decrease appetite, and water should always be chosen over sugary beverages for satiating thirst.

• Myth: Diet books keep you slim. “Going on a diet” is one of America’s favorite pastimes. Diets typically entail temporarily altering eating patterns, losing a bit of weight, and then going back to old habits. This has created an entire genre of literature, as well as videos, gear and meal plans that have become a multibillion-dollar industry. Really, it all boils down to the I&O (Intake and Output) principle. People who stick to Atkins, South Beach and the Sugar Busters diets lose weight because they limit the intake of calories.

• Myth: Taking vitamin supplements every day makes you healthy. Dietary supplement sales represent a $20 billion a year business, yet the 1994 Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act allows for significantly more lenient rules for supplements than medications from pharmaceutical companies, which are carefully scrutinized by the FDA. Manufacturers are not required to substantiate the supposed benefits of their products. A balanced diet generally provides all required vitamins and minerals needed, with the possible exceptions vitamin B12 for those who eat no animal products, folic acid for women of childbearing age, and, if blood tests indicate deficiency, vitamin B12 and vitamin D in the elderly.

About Dr. James L. Hardeman

Dr. James L. Hardeman has been a practicing physician for 30 years. Triple board certified in Internal Medicine, Pulmonary Diseases, and Critical Care Medicine, Dr. Hardeman has maintained the demanding schedule of both hospital-based medicine and a busy office practice. More info at jameslhardeman.com.

 

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Surviving severe morning sickness

Michael D. Weiss

Michael D. Weiss

Michael D. Weiss, D.O.

 

What can you expect when you’re expecting? Nearly 90% of pregnant women will experience morning sickness and one in 50 will be afflicted with the more severe hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), a potentially life-threatening condition marked by weight loss, malnutrition, and dehydration, due to continuous nausea and vomiting. Rarely is morning sickness so severe that it’s classified as HG. However, women diagnosed with this condition can take comfort in knowing that there are ways to manage it. Michael D. Weiss, D.O., an osteopathic OB-GYN physician from Rochester Hills and President of the Michigan Osteopathic Association discusses the common symptoms associated with the condition and provides tips to help manage them.

Symptoms of Hyperemesis Gravidarum

Labeled as a diagnosis of exclusion, HG can only be confirmed after ruling out other possible conditions. HG is a condition believed to be triggered by high levels of the ‘pregnancy hormone’ HCG, or human chorionic gonadotropin. According to Dr. Weiss, HG is typically indicative of a multiple pregnancy or hydatidiform mole, an abnormal growth of the placenta. “HG is much more severe than the typical nausea and vomiting that a lot of women experience during pregnancy,” explains Dr. Weiss. “Common symptoms, which include severe nausea, vomiting, weight loss, dehydration, lightheadedness, and fatigue, could last anywhere from several weeks to right until the mother gives birth,” he says.

HG symptoms can be debilitating. According to Dr. Weiss, sufferers cannot eat or drink without vomiting, may lose greater than 5% of their body weight, and, most times, are left too sick to function.

“Morning sickness is normal the first three months of a pregnancy, however it’s time to see a doctor if you are vomiting constantly and can’t keep any nutrients down,” advises Dr. Weiss. “Due to the severity of this condition, avoidance of environmental triggers such as strong smells, medication, and IV rehydration and feeding, are essential. With proper identification of symptoms and careful follow-up, serious complications for the baby or mother are rare.”

Tips to Combat Morning Sickness

While hospital treatment is almost always needed to relieve the complications of HG, various home remedies have been known to decrease the occasional nausea and vomiting associated with common morning sickness. Dr. Weiss recommends:

1. Eating a healthy BRAT (banana, rice, applesauce, and toast) diet.

2. Drinking plenty of fluids and increasing fluid intake during times of the day when you feel least nauseated. Seltzer, ginger ale, or other sparkling waters may be helpful.

3. Taking vitamin B6 (no more than 100 mg daily), Doxylamine (a sleep aid), or herbs like ginger or peppermint.

If your nausea and vomiting are so severe that you and your baby might be in danger, Dr. Weiss advises visiting your doctor. “Never try to self-medicate; always have a doctor prescribe the proper remedy.”

Planning a Healthy Pregnancy

Dr. Weiss advises all expectant mothers to see their doctor regularly and consult them if they experience any severe symptoms during their pregnancy. he also recommends taking prenatal vitamins daily and eating healthy. “You don’t need to ‘eat for two,’ but sticking to a healthy and varied diet of around 2,000 calories is crucial to maintaining your health and the health of your baby.”

Preventive medicine is just one aspect of care osteopathic physicians provide. D.O.s are fully licensed to prescribe medicine and practice in all specialty areas, including surgery. D.O.s are trained to consider the health of the whole person and use their hands to help diagnose and treat their patients.

About the MOA:

The Michigan Osteopathic Association represents more than 8,000 osteopathic physicians and students and promotes osteopathic medicine in Michigan by shaping the health care delivery system to better serve the community. To learn

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Stay safe as temperatures rise

From the American Red Cross

 

Summer is here, brining with it dangerous, excessive heat. The American Red Cross has steps people can follow to stay safe as the temperatures soar.

“Excessive heat can be deadly; it has caused more deaths in recent years than all other weather events,” said Kelly Hudson, Regional Communications Officer for the Red Cross of West Michigan. “We want everyone to stay safe during the hot weather and share important tips for when the weather is hot and humid.

NEVER LEAVE CHILDREN OR PETS IN THE CAR. The inside temperature of the car can quickly reach 120 degrees. Other heat safety steps include:

*Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol.

*Avoid extreme temperature changes.

*Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing. Avoid dark colors because they absorb the sun’s rays.

*Slow down, stay indoors and avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day.

*Postpone outdoor games and activities.

*Use a buddy system when working in excessive heat. Take frequent breaks if working outdoors.

*Check on family, friends and neighbors who do not have air conditioning, who spend much of their time alone or who are more likely to be affected by the heat.

*Check on animals frequently to ensure that they are not suffering from the heat. Make sure they have plenty of cool water.

*If someone doesn’t have air conditioning, they should choose places to go to for relief from the heat during the warmest part of the day (schools, libraries, theaters, malls).

HEAT EXHAUSTION Excessive heat can lead to sunburn, heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. If someone is experiencing heat cramps in the legs or abdomen, get them to a cooler place, have them rest, lightly stretch the affected muscle, and replenish their fluids with a half a glass (about 4 ounces) of cool water every 15 minutes.

If someone is exhibiting signs of heat exhaustion (cool, moist, pale or flushed skin, heavy sweating, headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness exhaustion), move them to a cooler place, remove or loosen tight clothing and spray the person with water or apply cool, wet cloths or towels to the skin. Fan the person. If they are conscious, give small amounts of cool water to drink. Make sure the person drinks slowly. Watch for changes in condition. If the person refuses water, vomits or begins to lose consciousness, call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.

HEAT STROKE IS LIFE-THREATENING. Signs include hot, red skin that may be dry or moist; changes in consciousness; vomiting and high body temperature. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately if someone shows signs of heat stroke. Move the person to a cooler place. Quickly cool the person’s body by immersing them up to their neck in cold water if possible. Otherwise, douse or spray the person with cold water, or cover the person with cold, wet towels or bags of ice.

For more information on what to do when temperatures rise, people can visit redcross.org, download the Red Cross Heat Wave Safety Checklist, or download the free Red Cross First Aid. The app is available for iPhone and Android smart phone and tablet users in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross. People can learn how to treat heat-related and other emergencies by taking First Aid and CPR/AED training online or in person. Go to redcross.org/takeaclass for information and to register.

 

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Summer heat can be deadly to pets


As the dangerous heat returns and the hot days of summer come upon us, doctors from Michigan Veterinary Specialists recommend taking certain precautions to ensure your pet doesn’t suffer from any heat-related injuries.

“It’s less than a week into summer and we’ve already seen multiple cases of heatstroke at several of our locations,” said Dr. Neil Shaw. “It’s very important for people to remember that their pets are sensitive to the heat.”

Doctors recommend pets be kept in an air-conditioned environment during the heat of the day and to limit strenuous activities such as running and playing.

“Focus on outdoor activities either early in the morning or late in the day,” Shaw said.

If your pet does become overheated, spray the animal down with room temperature or cool water, but never ice water. Ice cold water causes a decrease in blood flow to the skin and heat can’t escape the body, which makes heat exhaustion symptoms worse.

Don’t give sports drinks or electrolyte supplements to pets. Dogs cool off by panting and they do not sweat like people. Supplements like sports drinks can actually harm animals and make pets sick.

Lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea and dark red gums are all signs of heat related distress. If your pet is panting uncontrollably or collapses, take the animal to your veterinarian or nearest emergency veterinary hospital immediately.

Pet owners should also remember to make sure their pets have access to plenty of water at all times. Also, never leave your pet locked in a vehicle with the windows closed.

“Ultimately, any time you feel your pet may be in need of medical assistance, please don’t hesitate to get them to your veterinarian as soon as possible,” said Shaw. “Time is often the difference between life and death.”

 

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