Only half way through the month of July in Las Vegas and we are already seeing record heat. Our hottest month of the year is yet to come. Everyone is exposed to the increased possibility of heat exhaustion, heat stroke and dehydration. While all of the residents are feeling the physical and emotional stress from these extreme temperatures, it is important to understand that there are several types of populations who are more negatively affected by the heat including the homeless, financially disadvantaged, elderly and the mentally ill.
While all of these populations are at higher risk of harm due to the heat, the mentally ill are probably the least recognized. Mentally ill individuals often struggle with recognizing their surroundings, usually have financial difficulties causing housing without air conditioning and are often struggling to just care for themselves. In addition to all these factors, the medications taken by the mentally ill also decreases their body’s ability to regulate temperature making them more susceptible to heat stroke and dehydration. (www.nami.org) Due to these factors the mentally ill therefore have a 40% greater chance of having emergency heat related issues due to their medications and situation.
It is important when the temperatures reach over 90 degrees that we check individuals who are at higher risk populations. Individuals taking anti-psychotics, anti-depressants, anti-anxiety and lithium are in this category. Thos that are financially disadvantaged, the elderly and the mentally ill should all be monitored to ensure they remain hydrated, limit their activity levels and find cool places to be during the hottest points of the day.
Below are cool centers reported by Fox 5 where anyone can go for free during the day to remain cool:
Catholic Charities and the Salvation Army summer-day shelters are open seven days a week; they have several locations throughout the valley:
• Catholic Charities, 1501 N. Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (For men only.)
• The Salvation Army, 31 W. Owens Avenue, North Las Vegas, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. (For adults only.)
• The Shade Tree, 1 W. Owens Ave., North Las Vegas, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (For women and children only.)
The following locations will also open:
• Cambridge Recreation Center, 3930 Cambridge St., Las Vegas, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.;
• Dula Gymnasium, 441 E. Bonanza Road, Las Vegas, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.;
• Hollywood Recreation Center, 1650 S. Hollywood Blvd., Las Vegas, 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.;
• Islamic Society of Nevada, 4730 E. Desert Inn Road, Las Vegas, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.;
• Stupak Community Center, 251 W. Boston Ave., Las Vegas, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.;
• Walnut Recreation Center, 3075 N. Walnut Ave., Las Vegas, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m;
• Valley View Recreation Center, 500 Harris Street (at Basic Road), Henderson, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m..