This year has been a pretty hot one with temperature records being broken in many states that usually have high temperatures. Even states that normally have more reasonable temperature have been suffering in the heat and experiencing above average temperatures.
As well as just being uncomfortable, extreme heat can be dangerous and sometimes even fatal. Homes which do not have air conditioning or which are too warm have been found to cause heat related illness. Here are some problems that may affect you during periods of high temperatures.
Like many heat related illnesses, heat exhaustion is caused by a lack of fluids and electrolytes. When you spend long periods of time in extreme heat and do not drink enough you can get dehydrated. Dehydration related to heat exhaustion may cause headaches, cramps, fatigues, a faster heart rate and sometimes confusion.
Heat exhaustion can develop slowly without you realizing and you may have already developed heat exhaustion before you have many symptoms. If you live or work somewhere extremely hot, you probably suffer mild dehydration regularly. It is important to take steps to stop heat exhaustion before it happens to prevent problems that are more serious.
Drinking water on a regular basis and finding a cooler place to rest can help prevent heat exhaustion.
This is far more serious than heat exhaustion and is an illness that must be treated immediately. In some cases, particularly in elderly people, heat stroke can prove fatal.
Heat stroke occurs when your body temperature reaches at least 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Usually your body produces sweat to help you cool down but if you are dehydrated this will not happen. This makes it difficult for your body to regulate its temperature and can cause your body temperature to get dangerously high.
The symptoms of heat stroke are the same as those of heat exhaustion, but will be more extreme and will get worse as the condition becomes more severe. If someone has spent time in the heat and they do not appear to be sweating, then this is strong sign they are suffering from heat stroke.
Preventing Heat Related Illness
There are some very easy things you can do to cool down and to avoid heat related illness. Drinking water is one of the best things you can do. Water is much better than Gatorade or fizzy drinks, which can actually contribute to heat exhaustion.
Seeking out a cool environment can also help. If you do not have air conditioning in your home, then visit somewhere with air conditioning for a while such as a shopping mall or a neighbor’s house. If you cannot go somewhere with air conditioning, then at the very least avoid working outside during very hot temperatures and seek shade if you are outside. Think about resting during the hottest parts of the day.
These simple steps will help you to keep cool and feeling well during this hot year and help to prevent any heat related illness.