When Martha and the Vandellas released “Heat Wave” on July 9, 1963, it took the world by storm. Fifty-three years later, as heat waves blister the planet and world-record-busting temperatures have been recorded in nine of the past 10 years, they’re creating serious health challenges for millions of you. The American College of Physicians recently stated that “Climate change poses a catastrophic risk to human health” and that physicians have a crucial role to play in fighting it. So do YOU.
With rising temperatures we’re seeing more cases of tick- and water-borne diseases as well as mosquito-borne diseases like zika and dengue fever. Plus, for people with chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, asthma and even behavioral problems, the added physical stress caused by higher temperatures, longer allergy seasons and added air pollution is real. So what can you do about it? Get in front of it:
--Use DEET to repel ticks and skeeters; wear long pants in grassy, wooded areas; and banish standing water (even tiny pools) from your yard.
--If you have asthma, carry your rescue inhaler and check with your pulmonologist or allergist to make sure your allergy and/or asthma control plan is up to date.
--If you have diabetes or prediabetes, it’s harder to keep your blood sugar stable during a heat wave. Take your meds as prescribed; hydrate well; take cooling breaks indoors frequently; and check your blood sugar often. And consider taking your 10,000 steps in an air-conditioned mall.
Remember, you have to adjust, so do what you must.
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit www.sharecare.com.