Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Too hot for your health

National Institutes of Health (NIH) - Turning Discovery Into Health

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Hyperthermia: Too hot for your health

NIH provides advice on heat-related illness for older adults
During the summer, it is important for everyone, especially older adults and people with chronic medical conditions, to be aware of the dangers of hyperthermia. The National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the NIH, has some tips to help mitigate some of the dangers.
Hyperthermia is an abnormally high body temperature caused by a failure of the heat-regulating mechanisms in the body to deal with the heat coming from the environment. Heat stroke, heat syncope (sudden dizziness after prolonged exposure to the heat), heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat fatigue are common forms of hyperthermia. People can be at increased risk for these conditions, depending on the combination of outside temperature, their general health and individual lifestyle.
Older people, particularly those with chronic medical conditions, should stay indoors, preferably with air conditioning or at least a fan and air circulation, on hot and humid days, especially when an air pollution alert is in effect. Living in housing without air conditioning, not drinking enough fluids, not understanding how to respond to the weather conditions, lack of mobility and access to transportation, overdressing and visiting overcrowded places are all lifestyle factors that can increase the risk for hyperthermia.
People without air conditioners should go to places that do have air conditioning, such as senior centers, shopping malls, movie theaters and libraries. Cooling centers, which may be set up by local public health agencies, religious groups and social service organizations in many communities, are another option.
The risk for hyperthermia may increase from:
  • Age-related changes to the skin such as poor blood circulation and inefficient sweat glands
  • Alcohol use
  • Being substantially overweight or underweight
  • Dehydration
  • Heart, lung and kidney diseases, as well as any illness that causes general weakness or fever
  • High blood pressure or other health conditions that require changes in diet. For example, people on salt-restricted diets may be at increased risk. However, salt pills should not be used without first consulting a physician.
  • Reduced perspiration,caused by medications such as diuretics, sedatives, tranquilizers and certain heart and blood pressure drugs
  • Use of multiple medications. It is important, however, to continue to take prescribed medication and discuss possible problems with a physician.
Heat stroke is a life-threatening form of hyperthermia. It occurs when the body is overwhelmed by heat and is unable to control its temperature. Heat stroke occurs when someone’s body temperature increases significantly (above 104 degrees Fahrenheit) and shows symptoms of the following: strong rapid pulse, lack of sweating, dry flushed skin, mental status changes (like combativeness or confusion), staggering, faintness or coma. Seek immediate emergency medical attention for a person with any of these symptoms, especially an older adult.
If you suspect someone is suffering from a heat-related illness:
  • Get the person out of the heat and into a shady, air-conditioned or other cool place. Urge the person to lie down.
  • If you suspect heat stroke, call 911.
  • Apply a cold, wet cloth to the wrists, neck, armpits and/or groin. These are places where blood passes close to the surface of the skin, and the cold cloths can help cool the blood.
  • Help the individual to bathe or sponge off with cool water.
  • If the person can swallow safely, offer fluids such as water or fruit and vegetable juices, but avoid alcohol and caffeine.
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) within the Administration for Children and Families in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services helps eligible households pay for home cooling and heating costs. People interested in applying for assistance should contact their local or state LIHEAP agency or go to External Web Site Policy.
For a free copy of the NIA’s AgePage on hyperthermia in English or in Spanish, contact the NIA Information Center at 1-800-222-2225 or go to or (Spanish).
The NIA leads the federal effort supporting and conducting research on aging and the medical, social, and behavioral issues of older people. The Institute’s broad scientific program seeks to understand the nature of aging and to extend the healthy, active years of life. For more information on research, health and aging, go to
About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

Nigeria: Health Minister Debunks Outbreak of Ebola Virus in Nigeria, Says Is Dengue Fever
Federal Ministry of Health
Federal Ministry of Health

Health Minister Debunks Outbreak of Ebola Virus in Nigeria, Says Is Dengue Fever

The Minister of State for Health, Dr. Khaliru Alhassan has denied a report in section of the media on the outbreak of Ebola disease in Nigeria.

The Minister made the clarification in Abuja today when he briefed the Press on the purported rumour of the ebola virus in Nigeria.

He said as a follow up to the report in a section of the media on the outbreak of Ebola disease in Nigeria, the Federal Ministry of Health wishes to inform the general public that laboratory investigation has revealed that it is a case of Dengue Heamorrhagic Fever and not that of Ebola virus as erroneously reported.

He said that the outbreak of the ebola disease was recorded in Guinea which has so far claimed 80 lives adding that the disease  has spread to Sierra Leone and Liberia which they share border with Guinea. He stated categorically that there is no recorded case of Ebola Virus in Nigeria.

He explained that Dengue Heamorrhagic Fever (DHF) is an acute illness of sudden onset that usually follows a benign course with symptoms such as headache, fever, exhaustion, severe muscle and joint pain, swollen lymph nodes (lymphadenopathy), and rashes. At onset of the disease, it mimics Malaria and, often so, it is mistakenly diagnosed as Malaria. However, other signs of Dengue fever which include bleeding gums, bloody diarrhoea, bleeding from the nose and severe pain behind the eyes, red palms and soles differentiate it from Malaria Laboratory tests are usually necessary for its confirmation.
Dr.Alhassan said that prevention of transmission of Dengue Heamrrhagic Fever is similar to the prevention of Malaria. It is therefore very important to give environmental sanitation and mosquito bites control a high priority to reduce mosquito-human contact and also to eliminate multiplication of mosquitoes that are the vectors of the Dengue fever virus.

He reaffirmed that the Laboratories at the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) have the capacity to confirm the Dengue Heamorrhagic Fever and other Viral Hemorrhagic fevers adding that the Federal Ministry of Health has intensified surveillance activities on this disease and all States Ministries of Health are alerted.

He stressed that any suspected case should be reported to the nearest health facility including General Hospitals, Federal Medical Centres (FMCs) or Teaching Hospitals where non-specific and symptomatic drugs against this disease have been prepositioned.

He announced that all Nigerian Port Health posts and border medical centres have been put on high alert to screen travellers from countries with confirmed Ebola Haemorrhagic Fever occurrences pointing out that Nigerian citizens travelling to these countries are advised to be careful and should report any illnesses with the above stated symptoms to the nearest health facility.

He said that the Federal Ministry of Health is in the process of enhancing multi-sectoral collaboration with the Livestock Department of Federal Ministry of Agriculture, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), World Health Organisation (WHO), US Centre Disease Control (CDC), etc.

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