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Lactuca sativa longifolia

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Botanical Name: Lactuca sativa longifolia
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Lactuca
Species: L. sativa
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales
Tribe :Cichorieae

Common Name : Cos Lettuce, Romaine lettuce

Habitat: Of garden origin, probably derived from L. serriola. It is grown on cultivated bed.

Description:
Lactuca sativa longifolia is an annual/biennial plant growing to 0.9 m (3ft) by 0.3 m (1ft in).
It is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jul to August, and the seeds ripen from Aug to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Flies, self.The plant is self-fertile.

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Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Cultivation:
Prefers a light sandy loam. Succeeds in most well-drained, humus-rich soils but dislikes acid conditions. Plants strongly dislike dry conditions, quickly running to seed in such a situation. Early and late sowings are best in a sunny position, but summer crops are best given a position with some shade in order to slow down the plants tendency to go to seed and to prevent the leaves becoming bitter. The garden lettuce is widely cultivated in many parts of the world for its edible leaves and is probably the most commonly grown salad plant. This is the cos lettuce, a taller growing plant that has longer, thinner leaves and a more erect habit, it does not form a compact heart. There are many named varieties capable of providing fresh leaves throughout the year if winter protection is given in temperate areas. Lettuces are quite a problematic crop to grow. They require quite a lot of attention to protect them from pests such as slugs, aphids and birds. If the weather is hot and dry the plants tend to run very quickly to seed, developing a bitter flavour as they do so. In wet weather they are likely to develop fungal diseases. In addition, the seed needs to be sown at regular intervals of 2- 3 weeks during the growing season in order to provide a regular supply of leaves. Lettuces make a good companion plant for strawberries, carrots, radishes and onions. They also grow well with cucumbers, cabbages and beetroot.

Propagation:
Seed – sow a small quantity of seed in situ every 2 or 3 weeks from March (with protection in cooler areas) to June and make another sowing in August/September for a winter/spring crop. Only just cover the seed. Germination is usually rapid and good, thin the plants if necessary, these thinnings can be transplanted to produce a slightly later crop (but they will need to be well watered in dry weather). More certain winter crops can be obtained by sowing in a frame in September/October and again in January/February.

Edible Uses:
Leaves – raw or cooked. A mild slightly sweet flavour with a crisp texture, lettuce is a very commonly used salad leaf and can also be cooked as a potherb or be added to soups etc. A nutritional analysis is available. Seed – sprouted and used in salads or sandwiches. An edible oil is obtained from the seed. The seed is very small, extraction of the oil on any scale would not be very feasible.

Medicinal Uses :
The whole plant is rich in a milky sap that flows freely from any wounds. This hardens and dries when in contact with the air[4]. The sap contains ‘lactucarium‘, which is used in medicine for its anodyne, antispasmodic, digestive, diuretic, hypnotic, narcotic and sedative properties. Lactucarium has the effects of a feeble opium, but without its tendency to cause digestive upsets, nor is it addictive. It is taken internally in the treatment of insomnia, anxiety, neuroses, hyperactivity in children, dry coughs, whooping cough, rheumatic pain etc[238]. Concentrations of lactucarium are low in young plants and most concentrated when the plant comes into flower. It is collected commercially by cutting the heads of the plants and scraping the juice into china vessels several times a day until the plant is exhausted. The cultivated lettuce does not contain as much lactucarium as the wild species, most being produced when the plant is in flower. An infusion of the fresh or dried flowering plant can also be used. The plant should be used with caution, and never without the supervision of a skilled practitioner. Even normal doses can cause drowsiness whilst excess causes restlessness[238] and overdoses can cause death through cardiac paralysis. Some physicians believe that any effects of this medicine are caused by the mind of the patient rather than by the medicine. The sap has also been applied externally in the treatment of warts. The seed is anodyne and galactogogue. Lettuce has acquired a folk reputation as an anaphrodisiac, anodyne, carminative, diuretic, emollient, febrifuge, hypoglycaemic, hypnotic, narcotic, parasiticide and sedative.

Other Uses:
Parasiticide. No further details are given, but it is probably the sap of flowering plants that is used. The seed is said to be used to make hair grow on scar tissue.

Known Hazards : The mature plant is mildly toxic.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lettuce
http://www.pfaf.org/User/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Lactuca+sativa+longifolia

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Agropyrum repens

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Botanical Name: Agropyrum repens
Family: Poaceae
Genus: Elymus
Species: E. repens
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Poales
Synonyms:  Twitch-grass. Scotch Quelch. Quick-grass. Dog-grass. Triticum repens (Linn.).

Commo  Namen : Couch grass

Other names : Common couch, Twitch, Quick grass, Quitch grass (also just quitch), Dog grass, Quackgrass, Scutch grass, and Witchgrass
Habitat:Agropyrum repens  is  native to most of Europe, Asia, the Arctic biome, and northwest Africa. It has been brought into other mild northern climates for forage or erosion
Description:
Agropyrum repens  or couch grass  is a very common perennial species of grass.  It has creeping rhizomes which enable it to grow rapidly across grassland. It has flat, hairy leaves with upright flower spikes. The stems (‘culms’) grow to 40–150 cm tall; the leaves are linear, 15–40 cm long and 3–10 mm broad at the base of the plant, with leaves higher on the stems 2–8.5 mm broad. The flower spike is 10–30 cm long, with spikelets 1–2 cm long, 5–7 mm broad and 3 mm thick with three to eight florets. The glumes are 7–12 mm long, usually without an awn or with only a short one…..CLICK  & SEE THE PICTURES

It flowers at the end of June through to August in the northern hemisphere.
Part Used in medicine :   The rhizome, or underground stem, collected in the spring and freed from leaves and roots.

Constituents:  Couch-grass rhizome contains about 7 to 8 per cent of Triticin (a carbohydrate resembling Inulin) and yielding levulose on hydrolysis. It appears to occur in the rhizome of other grasses, and possibly is widely diffused in the vegetable kingdom. Sugar, Inosite, Mucilage and acid malates are also constituents of the drug. Lactic acid and mannite may occur in an extract of the rhizome, but are understood to be fermentation products. Starch is not present and no definite active constituent has yet been discovered. The rhizome leaves about 4 1/2 per cent ash on incineration.

Medicinal  Uses:
Diuretic demulcent. Much used in cystitis and thetreatment of catarrhal diseases of the bladder. It palliates irritation of the urinary passages and gives relief in cases of gravel.

It is also recommended in gout and rheumatism. It is supposed to owe its diuretic effect to its sugar, and is best given in the form of an infusion, made from 1 OZ. to a pint of boiling water, which may be freely used taken in wineglassful doses. A decoction is also made by putting 2 to 4 oz. in a quart of water and reducing down to a pint by boiling. Of the liquid extract 1/2 to 2 teaspoonsful are given in water.

Couch-grass is official in the Indian and Colonial Addendum of the British Pharmacopoeia for use in the Australasian, Eastern and North American Colonies, where it is much employed.

The dried rhizomes of couch grass were broken up and used as incense in medieval northern Europe where other resin-based types of incense were unavailable. Elymus repens (Agropyron repens) rhizomes have been used in the traditional Austrian medicine against fever, internally as a tea, syrup, or cold maceration in water, or externally applied as a crude drug.

Other Uses:
The foliage is an important forage grass for many grazing mammals.  The seeds are eaten by several species of grassland birds, particularly buntings and finches. The caterpillars of some Lepidoptera use it as a foodplant, e.g. the Essex Skipper (Thymelicus lineola).

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elymus_repens
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/g/grasse34.html#cou

Epigaea repens

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Botanical Name: Epigaea repens
Family:    Ericaceae
Genus:    Epigaea
Species:    E. repens
Kingdom:    Plantae
Order:    Ericales

Synonyms:  Mountain Pink. May Flower. Gravel Plant. Ground Laurel. Winter Pink.

Common Names: Mayflower or Trailing arbutus

Habitat:  Epigaea repens   is found from Newfoundland to Florida, west to Kentucky and the Northwest Territories. It is found in sandy soil in many parts of North America, in the shade of pines. Its natural home is under trees, and it will thrive in this country only in moist, sandy peat in shady places. It has long been known in cultivation here as an ornamental plant, having been introduced into Great Britain in 1736. Like the common Arbutus, or the Strawberry Tree and the Bearberry, it belongs to the order Ericacece, the family of the heaths.Slow growing, it prefers moist, acidic (humus-rich) soil, and shade. It is often part of the heath complex in an oak-heath forest.

Description:
Epigaea repens is a small evergreen creeping shrub, It grows but a few inches high, with a trailing, shrubby stalk, which puts out roots at the joints, and when in a proper soil and situation multiplies very fast. The evergreen leaves are stalked, broadly ovate, 1 to 1 1/2 inches long, rough and leathery, with entire, wavy margins and a short point at the apex. Branches, leaf-stalks and nerves of the leaves are very hairy. The flowers are produced at the end of the branches in dense clusters. They are white, with a reddish tinge and very fragrant, divided at the top into five acute segments, which spread open in the form of a star. The plant flowers in April and May, but rarely produces fruit in England. It is stated to be injurious to cattle when eaten by them.

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The species flowers are pink, fading to nearly white, very fragrant, about .5 inches (1.3 cm) across when expanded, few or many in clusters at ends of branches. Calyx of five dry overlapping sepals; corolla salver-shaped, the slender, hairy tube spreading into five equal lobes; 10 stamens; one pistil with a column-like style and a five-lobed stigma. Stem: Spreading over the ground (Epigaea = on the earth); woody, the leafy twigs covered with rusty hairs. Leaves: Alternate, oval, rounded at the base, smooth above, more or less hairy below, evergreen, weather-worn, on short, rusty, hairy petioles.

Cultivation:       
Landscape Uses:Rock garden, Woodland garden. Requires an open lime-free humus-rich soil and shade from direct sunlight. Grows well in the shade of other calcifuge plants such as rhododendrons and also under pine trees. A very cold-hardy plant but it is often excited into premature growth by mild winter weather and is then subject to damage by frost. The flower buds require a period of chilling to about 2°c before they will open. The flowers are deliciously and strongly scented with a rich spicy perfume. There are some named varieties, selected for their ornamental value. A difficult plant to grow in cultivation and very hard to transplant successfully. Another report says that although the genus is generally difficult to cultivate, this species is relatively easy to grow. Special Features:Attractive foliage, Fragrant flowers.

Propagation :  
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a shady position in a cold frame. Another report says that the seed requires no pre-treatment and can be sown in late winter in a cold frame. Surface sow and place the pot in light shade, do not allow it to dry out. The seed usually germinates in 3 – 5 weeks. As soon as they are large enough to handle, pot up the seedlings into individual pots. Be very careful since they strongly resent root disturbance. Grow them on in light shade in the greenhouse and plant them out in their permanent positions in the late spring of their second years growth. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame.Take the cutting with a part of the previous year’s growth. (This report is unclear as to whether it means a heel of older wood or just a small section of older wood) Plants self-layer and can be divided in the spring but this must be done with great care since they deeply resent root disturbance.

Edible Uses:   Flowers – raw. Fragrant, with a spicy slightly acid flavour, they are eaten as a wayside nibble or are added to salads. Thirst quenching.

Medicinal Uses:
Astringent;  Diuretic;  Tonic.
Mayflower is rarely used medicinally, even in folk medicine, though it is a strong urinary antiseptic and is one of the most effective remedies for cystitis, urethritis, prostatitis, bladder stones and particularly acute catarrhal cystitis. The leaves are astringent, diuretic and tonic. An infusion is made from the dried leaves, or a tincture from the fresh leaves. A tea made from the leaves is used in the treatment of kidney disorders, stomach aches, bladder disorders etc. It is of special value when the urine contains blood or pus. Use with caution, the plant contains arbutin and, although this is an effective urinary disinfectant, it hydrolyzes to hydroquinone which is toxic. The leaves can be used fresh or can be harvested in the summer and dried for later use

Other Uses:
Plants can be grown for ground cover, they should be spaced about 25cm apart each way and form a carpet of growth. This species is probably not very worthwhile for ground cover in Britain because of its difficulty to cultivate.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epigaea_repens
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Epigaea+repens

Huckleberry

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Botanical Name : Gaylussacia baccata
Family: Ericaceae
Genus: Gaylussacia
Species: G. baccata
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ericales

Synonyms:
Gaylussacia baccata (Wangenh.) K. Koch
DEBA7 Decachaena baccata (Wangenh.) Small

Common Name:Huckleberry

Habitat :Gaylussacia baccata is  found throughout a wide area of northeastern North America

Description:
Black huckleberry is a low-growing, freely branched, deciduous shrub. It is rigid and erect, generally growing to 3 feet (1 m) tall. Shrubs are often found in clumps due to dense clonal spread . Site conditions can affect the growth form. Black huckleberry shrubs grown in the shade are typically taller and more open, while those in open conditions are often shorter and more compact.

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New branches are minutely hairy, and older wood often has peeling bark . Leaves are simple, alternate, and measure 0.9 to 2.2 inches (2-5.5 cm) long by 0.4 to 1 inch (1-2.5 cm) wide. The firm, shiny, hairless leaves have resinous dots .

Flowers are small, cylindrical to bell shaped, and arranged in one-sided racemes . Black huckleberry produces berry like drupe fruits that are generally 0.25 inch (0.63 cm) in diameter. Ten seeds approximately 2 mm long are produced per drupe . In a review, an average of 22,100 clean seeds weighed an ounce and 780 weighed a gram . One hundred “plump” seeds collected from Maryland weighed 136 mg .

Belowground description: Black huckleberry is shallowly rooted below slender scaly rhizomes. It lacks a taproot.  In the New Jersey pine barrens, complete underground structures of 5 black huckleberry shrubs were exposed by careful hand digging. The researcher found that rhizomes were predominantly in the A0 and A1 soil horizons. In soils without these layers, rhizomes are normally concentrated in the top 2 to 3 inches (5-8 cm) of mineral soil. Long rhizomes, while typically confined to the upper soil horizons, may reach as deep as 8 inches (20 cm). Black huckleberry roots and rhizomes often reach the water table in lowland areas but rarely reach the water table in upland sites. Rhizome diameters were generally 0.25 to 0.75 inch (0.6-2 cm) but on occasion were as large as 2 inches (5 cm). Short roots were present along all rhizomes. Longer roots, sometimes as long as 2 feet (0.6 m), arose at rhizome forks or stem bases

Medicinal Uses:
An infusion of the leaves, or the bark, has been used in the treatment of dysentery. An infusion of the leaves has been used in the treatment of Bright’s disease.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/shrub/gaybac/all.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaylussacia_baccata
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_FGH.htm
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=GABA

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Dehydration

Definition:
Water makes up around 75 per cent of the human body. It’s important for digestion, joint function, healthy skin and removal of waste products.
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Dehydration occurs when more fluid is lost from the body than is taken in. This causes an imbalance in important minerals, such as sodium and potassium, which are required for muscle and nerve function.

If there is a one per cent or greater loss in body weight because of fluid loss, dehydration occurs. This may be mild, moderate or severe, depending on the amount lost.

Infants and children are more susceptible to dehydration than adults because of their smaller body weights and higher turnover of water and electrolytes. The elderly and those with illnesses are also at higher risk.

Dehydration is classified as mild, moderate, or severe based on how much of the body’s fluid is lost or not replenished. When severe, dehydration is a life-threatening emergency.

Who are at Risk?
Anyone’s at risk of dehydration, but some people are more at risk than others.

•Babies and young children have relatively low body weights, making them more vulnerable to the effects of fluid loss.
•Older adults tend to eat less and may forget to eat and drink during the day. With increasing age, the body’s ability to conserve water decreases and a person’s sense of thirst becomes less acute. Illness and disability are also more common, which may make it harder to eat and drink enough.
•People with long-term medical conditions, such as kidney disease and alcoholism, are more at risk of dehydration.
•Short-term, acute health problems, such as viral infections, can result in dehydration because fever and increased sweating mean more fluid is lost from the body. Such illnesses may also make you feel less inclined to eat and drink.
•People living or working in hot climates or those who take part in sports or other strenuous physical activities are at greater risk of dehydration.

Symptoms:
The body’s initial responses to dehydration are thirst to increase water intake along with decreased urine output to try to conserve water. The urine will become concentrated and more yellow in color.

As the level of water loss increases, more symptoms can become apparent. The following are further signs and symptoms of dehydration:

•dry mouth,
•the eyes stop making tears,
•sweating may stop,
•muscle cramps,
•nausea and vomiting,
•heart palpitations, and
•lightheadedness (especially when standing).

The body tries to maintain cardiac output (the amount of blood that is pumped by the heart to the body); and if the amount of fluid in the intravascular space is decreased, the body tries to compensate for this decrease by increasing the heart rate and making blood vessels constrict to try to maintain blood pressure and blood flow to the vital organs of the body. This coping mechanism begins to fail as the level of dehydration increases.

With severe dehydration, confusion and weakness will occur as the brain and other body organs receive less blood. Finally, coma and organ failure, and death eventually will occur if the dehydration remains untreated.

Causes:
Around two-thirds of the water we need comes from drinks. Up to one-third comes from food (tomatoes, cucumber, fish and poultry are good sources). Some is also provided as a result of chemical reactions within the body.
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The average adult loses around 2.5 litres of water every day through the normal processes of breathing, sweating and waste removal. If we lose more fluid than usual this tips the balance towards dehydration.

Your body may lose too much fluids from:
•Vomiting or diarrhea
•Excessive urine output, such as with uncontrolled diabetes or diuretic use
•Excessive sweating (for example, from exercise)
•Fever

You might not drink enough fluids because of:
•Nausea
•Loss of appetite due to illness
•Sore throat or mouth sores

Dehydration in sick children is often a combination of both — refusing to eat or drink anything while also losing fluid from vomiting, diarrhea, or fever.

Lifestyle factors such as drinking too much alcohol, exercise, being in a hot environment or being too busy to drink liquid can also lead to dehydration.

Diagnosis:
Dehydration is often a clinical diagnosis. Aside from diagnosing the reason for dehydration, the health care practitioner’s examination of the patient will assess the level of dehydration. Initial evaluations may include:

•Mental status tests to evaluate whether the patient is awake, alert, and oriented. Infants and children may appear listless and have whiny cries and decreased muscle tone.

•Vital signs may include postural readings (blood pressure and pulse rate are taken lying down and standing). With dehydration, the pulse rate may increase and the blood pressure may drop because the intravascular space is depleted of fluid. People taking beta blocker medications for high blood pressure, heart disease, or other indications, occasionally lose the ability to increase their heart rate as a compensation mechanism since these medications block the adrenaline receptors in the body.

•Temperature may be measured to assess fever.

•Skin may be checked to see if sweat is present and to assess the degree of elasticity (turgor). As dehydration progresses, the skin loses its water content and becomes less elastic.

•Infants may have additional evaluations performed, including checking for a soft spot on the skull (sunken fontanelle), assessing the suck mechanism, muscle tone, or loss of sweat in the armpits and groin. All are signs of potential significant dehydration.

•Pediatric patients are often weighed during routine child visits, thus a body weight measurement may be helpful in assessing how much water has been lost with the acute illness.

Laboratory testing:-
The purpose of blood tests is to assess potential electrolyte abnormalities (especially sodium levels) associated with the dehydration. Tests may or may not be done on the patient depending upon the underlying cause of dehydration, the severity of illness, and the health care practitioner’s assessment of their needs.

Urinalysis may be done to determine urine concentration – the more concentrated the urine, the more dehydrated the patient.

Treatment:-
As is often the case in medicine, prevention is the important first step in the treatment of dehydration. (Please see the home treatment and prevention sections.)

Fluid replacement is the treatment for dehydration. This may be attempted by replacing fluid by mouth, but if this fails, intravenous fluid (IV) may be required. Should oral rehydration be attempted, frequent small amounts of clear fluids should be used.

Clear fluids include:
•water,
•clear broths,
•popsicles,
•Jell-O, and
•other replacement fluids that may contain electrolytes (Pedialyte, Gatorade, Powerade, etc.)
Decisions about the use of intravenous fluids depend upon the health care practitioner’s assessment of the extent of dehydration and the ability for the patient to recover from the underlying cause.

The success of the rehydration therapy can be monitored by urine output. When the body is dry, the kidneys try to hold on to as much fluid as possible, urine output is decreased, and the urine itself is concentrated. As treatment occurs, the kidneys sense the increased amount of fluid, and urine output increases.

Medications may be used to treat underlying illnesses and to control fever, vomiting, or diarrhea.

Home Treatment:
Dehydration occurs over time. If it can be recognized in its earliest stages, and if its cause can be addressed, home treatment may be beneficial and adequate.

Steps a person can take at home to prevent severe dehydration include:

•Individuals with vomiting and diarrhea can try to alter their diet and use medications to control symptoms to minimize water loss. Clear fluids often recommended as the diet of choice for the first 24 hours, with gradual progression to a BRAT diet (bananas, rice, apples, toast) and then adding more foods as tolerated.
•Loperamide (Imodium) may be considered to control diarrhea.
•Acetaminophen or ibuprofen may be used to control fever.
•Fluid replacements may be attempted by small, frequent amounts of clear fluids (see clear fluids information in previous section). The amount of fluid required to maintain hydration depends upon the individual’s weight. The average adult needs between 2 and 3 liters of fluid per day.
If the person becomes confused or lethargic; if there is persistent, uncontrolled fever, vomiting, or diarrhea; or if there are any other specific concerns, then medical care should be accessed.

Prevention:-
•Environment: Dehydration due to the weather is a preventable condition. If possible, activities should not be scheduled in the heat of the day. If they are, adequate fluids should be available, and cooler, shaded areas should be used if possible. Of course, people should be monitored to make certain they are safe. Those working in hot environments need to take care to rehydrate often.
•Exercise: People exercising in a hot environment need to drink adequate amounts of water.
•Age: The young and elderly are most at risk. During heat waves, attempts should be made to check on the elderly in their homes. During the Chicago heat wave of 1995, more than 600 people died in their homes from heat exposure.
•Heat related conditions: Know the signs and symptoms of heat cramps, heat rash, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. Preventing dehydration is one step to avoid these conditions.

Carefully monitor someone who is ill, especially an infant, child, or older adult. If you believe that dehydration is developing, consult a doctor before the person becomes moderately or severely dehydrated. Begin fluid replacement as soon as vomiting and diarrhea start — DO NOT wait for signs of dehydration.

Always encourage the person to drink during an illness, and remember that a person’s fluid needs are greater when that person has fever, vomiting, or diarrhea. The easiest signs to monitor are urine output (there should be frequent wet diapers or trips to the bathroom), saliva in the mouth, and tears when crying.

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Resources:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/physical_health/conditions/dehydration1.shtml
http://www.medicinenet.com/dehydration/page4.htm
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000982.htm

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