As much as we try to slow it down, climate change is still coming; and it brings with it hotter temperatures. When you live in a place where temperatures can already soar, then the heat can be a killer. Hot weather is no joke. The heat can put immense stress on the body. For this reason, scientists and health officials around the world recommend several ways to cope with the heat. Methods that can help deal with the heat range from wearing light and loose clothing to even availing AC rentals.
What the Heat Can Do
The human body maintains an internal temperature within a narrow range around 37°C. The body keeps this delicate range through different means. The most famous one is probably sweating. The body can also increase blood flow to the skin, where it is cooler. This mechanism allows the body to release heat through radiation.
However, the body can only do so much. When it is under extreme heat, it can experience heat-related illnesses. Heat exhaustion can progress to heatstroke. Heatstroke occurs when the body reaches at least 40°C. It is a medical emergency that can be deadly if it does not receive medical treatment within 30 minutes. As much as 15% of heatstroke cases are fatal.
Who are Vulnerable?
No one is immune to heat-related illness, but some are more at risk. The bodies of the elderly have lower capabilities in maintaining safe core temperatures. Likewise, children, especially those under four years of age, are at risk because their bodies have not entirely developed the ability to regulate temperature. People with special medical or health conditions such as those chronic diseases, those who take particular medications, and pregnant and breastfeeding women may also be more prone since their bodies may be weaker than usual.
There are ways to cope with the heat and prevent heat-related illnesses. It can start with simple clothing. Wear clothes that are light and loose because these can allow heat to escape from the body and cool it.
Protect your body when exposed under the sun. Sunburn can lower the body’s ability to cool down, so wearing sunscreen will not only protect the skin but the overall body’s health as well. Reapply sunscreen every two hours and even more often if you sweat a lot. Wear and use other protective gear such as wide-brimmed hats, sunglasses, and umbrellas. Stick to shady areas as much as possible.
Drinking plenty of water and other cool, non-alcoholic fluids are imperative. Do this even if you do not feel thirsty. The extra fluids can help replace lost fluids. Avoiding hot and spicy meals will also help keep your body cool.
Stay indoors as much as possible, preferably in an air-conditioned room. Electric fans can provide comfort, but they only do so much. If events of extreme temperatures such as heatwaves and your home does not have air conditioning, AC rentals are available for the time being. Renting an AC can save you a trip to the emergency room.
Although exercise is always a good thing, unless you are training in an air-conditioned facility, it would be wise to avoid any strenuous activity in hot weather. This time may be an excellent opportunity to take a little break in your training.
Worst Case Scenario and Takeaway
Knowing who is more at risk and what to do to prevent heat-related illness can save you and others from danger. However, if a heat-related illness does occur, get emergency medical attention immediately. In the meantime, try to lower body temperature by removing excess clothing, wetting the skin, wrapping with a cool, moist cloth, and moving to a cooler location.