Extreme Heat: Heat Rash, Exhaustion, Stroke? Be Prepared!
Extreme heat introduction
This summer has brought a heat wave with unusually high
temperatures that have lasted for
weeks. High temperatures can be potentially dangerous to one's
People suffer heat-related illness when the body's temperature
is overloaded. The body normally cools itself by sweating. Under
some conditions, sweating is not enough to cool down the body. In
cases, a person's body
temperature rises rapidly. Very high body temperatures may damage the
other vital organs.
Several factors affect the body's ability to cool itself during
weather. When the humidity is high, sweat will not evaporate as
preventing the body from releasing heat quickly. Other conditions
that can limit
the ability to regulate temperature include old age, obesity, fever,
dehydration, heart disease, poor circulation, sunburn, and drug and
Summertime activity, whether on the playing field or the
must be balanced with measures that aid the body's cooling mechanisms
prevent heat-related illness.
During hot weather
To protect your health when temperatures are extremely high,
remember to keep
cool and use common sense. The following tips are important.
Drink Plenty of Fluid
Increase your fluid intake - regardless of your activity level.
exercise in a hot environment, drink 2-4 glasses (16-32 ounces) of
Caution: If your doctor has prescribed a fluid-restricted
diuretics for you, ask your doctor how much you should drink.
During hot weather, you will need to drink more liquid than your
indicates. This is especially true for people 65 years of age and
often have a decreased ability to respond to external temperature
Drinking plenty of liquids during exercise is especially important.
Very cold beverages should be avoided since they can cause stomach
cramps. Alcoholic drinks should be avoided since they can actually
cause you to lose
Heavy sweating removes salt and minerals from the body. These are
for your body and must be replaced. The easiest and safest way to
and minerals is through your diet. Drink fruit juice or a sports
exercise or any work in the heat. Do not take salt tablets unless
your doctor. If you are on a low-salt diet, ask your doctor before
you eat or drink-especially before drinking a sports beverage.
Wear Appropriate Clothing and Sunscreen
Wear as little clothing as possible when you are at home. Choose
light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. In the hot sun, a wide-brimmed
provide shade and keep the head cool.
Sunburn affects your body's ability to cool itself and causes a
loss of body
fluids. It causes pain and damages the skin.
A variety of sunscreens are available to reduce the risk of
protection that they offer against sunburn varies. Check the sun
factor (SPF) number on the label of the sunscreen container. Select
SPF 15 or
higher to protect yourself adequately. Apply sunscreen 30 minutes
outdoors and reapply according to package directions.
If you are unaccustomed to working or exercising in a hot
slowly and pick up the pace gradually. If exertion in the heat makes
pound and leaves you gasping for breath, STOP all activity, get into
area, or at least in the shade, and rest, especially if you become
confused, weak, or faint.
Stay Cool Indoors
The most efficient way to beat the heat is to stay in an air-
area. If you do not have an air conditioner or evaporative cooling
consider a visit to a shopping mall or public library for a few
your local health department to see if there are any heat-relief
your area. Electric fans may be useful to increase comfort and to
draw cool air
into your home at night, but do not rely on a fan as your primary
during a heat wave. When the temperature is in the high 90's F or
higher, a fan
will not prevent heat-related illness. A cool shower or bath is more
way to cool off. Use your stove and oven less to maintain a
temperature in your home.
Schedule Outdoor Activities Carefully
If you must be out in the heat, try to plan your activities so
that you are
outdoors either before noon or in the evening. While outdoors, rest
in a shady area. Resting periodically will give your body's
thermostat a chance
Use a Buddy System
When working in the heat, monitor the condition of your co-workers
someone do the same for you. Heat-induced illness can cause a person
confused or lose consciousness. If you are 65 years of age or older,
friend or relative call to check on you twice a day during a heat
wave. If you
know anyone in this age group, check on them at least twice a day.
Monitor Those at High Risk
Those at greatest risk of heat-related illness include:
- infants and children up to four years of age
- people 65 years of age or older
- people who are overweight
- people who overexert during work or exercise
- people who are ill or on certain medications