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3 Dangers of Summer Heat

3 Dangers of Summer Heat

Heat is one of the most deadly weather events in the United States. Every year 100s of people die from heat illnesses. Summers in the United States can be hot, depending on which state you’re in. High temperatures and often high humidity combine to create serious health problems for people of all ages. Don’t risk your health this summer – find out about heat dangers and how to prevent them.

How Heat Affects Your Body

When the weather is extremely hot and humid your body loses the ability to cool itself. Your body temperature rises without check, and health problems occur. Loss of salts and other minerals through excess sweat also cause problems. Some people are more susceptible than others to heat health dangers – older adults and younger children are more likely to suffer, as are people with poor circulation, obesity, heart disease, and sunburn. Here are the three health dangers of heat:

  1. Heat cramps: Symptoms of heat cramps include painful muscle spasms and cramps in the legs and abdomen, and heavy sweating. If heat cramps occur then take sips of water and gently massage the affected areas.
  2. Heat exhaustion: Heat exhaustion causes heavy sweating, cool and clammy skin, weakness, muscle cramps, dizziness, nausea, and fainting. In the event of heat exhaustion, move the person to a cooler place (preferably air conditioned), loosen clothing, and apply cool cloths to the skin.
  3. Heat stroke: Symptoms of heat stroke include confusion and mood changes, headache, nausea, dizziness, shallow breathing, high body temperature, hot and dry skin, rapid pulse, and unconsciousness. Heat stroke can be fatal so you should seek immediate emergency attention. Move the person to a cool, air-conditioned room and reduce the body temperature with wet sponges or a water mister. Don’t give any fluids.

What to do to Prevent Heat Health Dangers

Slow down and reschedule any strenuous tasks for the coolest time of the day. In extreme heat stay in the coolest possible place, which may be outside in the shade. Dress in light-colored, light-weight clothing. Drink plenty of water and non-alcoholic fluids, even when you do not feel thirsty. Spend time in air-conditioned places as much as possible, and seek the shade when you are outdoors. Don’t get too much sun as sunburn affects the body’s ability to cool down effectively – make sure you use sunscreen in the sun and wear a wide-brimmed hat.


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