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Ask the Acupuncturist

Heat Stroke Danger

dreamstime_11375105If you have every had heat stroke or heat exhaustion, take care to not repeat the experience.  Based on a  study that followed  heat stroke patients from the 1995 Chicago heat wave, people who have experienced heat stroke have 28% higher risk of death in the following year.

What to do:

  • Limit exposure.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Avoid alcohol and coffee.
  • Eat light meals.
  • Douse pulse points with water.
  • Wear clothing/fabrics that “breathe.”
  • Lower core body temp with a cool bath.
  • See a professional to help clear lingering heat using Chinese medicinals and acupuncture.

Heatstroke symptoms include:

High body temperature. A body temperature of 104 F (40 C) or higher is the main sign of heatstroke.

Altered mental state or behavior. Confusion, agitation, slurred speech, irritability, delirium, seizures and coma can all result from heatstroke.

Alteration in sweating. In heatstroke brought on by hot weather, your skin will feel hot and dry to the touch. However, in heatstroke brought on by strenuous exercise, your skin may feel moist.

Nausea and vomiting. You may feel sick to your stomach or vomit.

Flushed skin. Your skin may turn red as your body temperature increases.

Rapid breathing. Your breathing may become rapid and shallow.

Racing heart rate. Your pulse may significantly increase because heat stress places a tremendous burden on your heart to help cool your body.

Headache. Your head may throb. ( Mayo Clinic.)

In July 1995, Chicago sustained a heat wave that resulted in more than 600 excess deaths, 3300 excess emergency department visits, and a substantial number of intensive care unit admissions for near-fatal heat stroke.


To describe the clinical features of patients admitted to an intensive care unit with near-fatal classic heat stroke. Patients were followed for 1 year to assess delayed functional outcome and mortality.


Observational study.


Intensive care units in the Chicago area.


58 patients admitted to the hospital from 12 July to 20 July 1995 who met the case definition of classic heat stroke.


The data collection tool was designed to compile demographic and survival data and to permit analysis of organ system function by abstracting data on physical examination findings, electrocardiography and echocardiography results, fluid resuscitation, radiography results, and laboratory findings. Data on functional status at discharge and at 1 year were collected by using a modified Stanford Health Assessment Questionnaire.


Patients experienced multiorgan dysfunction with neurologic impairment (100%), moderate to severe renal insufficiency (53%), disseminated intravascular coagulation (45%), and the acute respiratory distress syndrome (10%). Fifty-seven percent of patients had evidence of infection on admission. In-hospital mortality was 21%. Most survivors recovered near-normal renal, hematologic, and respiratory status, but disability persisted, resulting in moderate to severe functional impairment in 33% of patients at hospital discharge. At 1 year, no patient had improved functional status, and an additional 28% of patients had died.


Near-fatal classic heat stroke is associated with multiorgan dysfunction. A high percentage of patients had infection at presentation. A high mortality rate was observed during acute hospitalization and at 1 year. In addition, substantial functional impairment at discharge persisted 1 year. The degree of functional disability correlated highly with survival at 1 year.

Thermography and Lymphatic Breast Massage

In celebration of Mother’s Day, I want to get this important information out. Every week I am asked about resources for breast health. One of my specialties is breast health and I have come to understand in my clinical practice that not all thermograms are the same. When looking at breast cancer prevention it is important to use the best tools in our toolbox.  We recommend this company “Women’s Academy of Breast Thermography” when looking for a quality thermogram.  For more information about breast health listen to the Balancing Point radio show and podcast.

Another great resource for breast health is the Breast Health Project.  Here is their video on lymphatic breast massage, please share with everyone who is concerned about breast cancer prevention:

Be Well!

Dr. John Nieters, L.Ac.

Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

Feeling really dizzy

I have been having alot of dizziness recently.  It started while sleeping.  When moving my head from side to side, I would feel dizzy.  By straightening my head, it would subside. I probably feel about 98% ok now. I have no idea why this is happening. Any idea what’s up?
Thanks so much,

Dear Caroline,
This is almost certainly BPV or benign postural (or paroxysmal) vertigo. Small calcium deposits, like grains of sand, break off inside the semi-circular canals of the ear.
These grains get stuck in the cilia, which are the small hair-like receptors that respond to changes in flow of fluid in the canals.   The cilia then send the wrong message to the brain, telling it that you are one position, while your eyes are concurrently giving a different message.  The brain gets confused, and nausea ensues. This is similar to motion sickness, where the eyes are seeing one thing and the ear canals are telling the brain something else.

There is a technique called the “Epley Manouver” that can sometimes dislodge the stone.  Otherwise, it usually resolves in time.  I do not do the Epley because it can cause vomiting.  Many chiropractors will do Epley.

Sorry to hear of this difficulty.

Be Happy!
John Nieters, DAOM, L.Ac.
Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

Going vegan

Hello Dr. Nieters,
I’m going vegan and wondering if there is any herb or needle support I should be considering.
Many thanks,


Dear Marcie,
The two major problems with going vegan are iron deficiency and vitamin B-12 deficiency.  Most vegans become B-12 deficient within a few months, which will effect energy.  Over time, the stomach acidity often becomes too weak to absorb minerals efficiently.

There are herbs to help with the iron deficiencies.  There are needles to help with the stomach acid issues.

I am happy that you are focusing on your health.

Be Happy!
John Nieters, DAOM, L.Ac.
Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

Fish oil repeating

I am taking fish oil to kill yeast. One of my issues is inability to digest certain oils, fats. So I am wondering if I should take this oil. I use a lot of olive oil on my veggies each day and can handle that, but the fish oil repeats on me even when I eat salmon. So am wondering if this is good for me to take: took one tonight….but not digesting it well.
Thank you,

Dear Dor,
The yeast killing is a minor function of the fish oil.  It is primarily for protection of the phospholipid protective structure of the membranes and to:
• Lower blood viscosity and tendency to clot.
• Support nerve regeneration in the brain.
• Decrease likelihood of neurodegenerative diseases.
• Substantially lower dementia risk.
• Improve memory and cognition.
• Decrease cardiovascular (stroke and heart attack) risk.
• Increase good cholesterol levels.

If it repeats you could:
• Stop taking it and continue to eat fish (olive and flax are great but do not serve the same function. We often think of the olive oil and ample intake of fruits and vegetables of the Mediterranean diet as being what is so beneficial. Often overlooked is that these populations eat high amount of fatty fish such as mackerel. They have a very high fat diet.
• Switch to krill oil which much easier to assimilate, less is needed. I usually use 1 small 500 mg krill oil to replace 3 large 1,000 gr. fish oil capsules, which is less likely to repeat. Warning: Krill is a bit more expensive and will always smell fishy.  If fish oil smells fishy, you should not take it, but krill will always be fishy.
• Take a lipase supplement (digestive enzyme) with the fish or fish oil.
• Take a bile supplement with the fish oil.

Be Happy!
John Nieters, DAOM, L.Ac.
Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

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