There is nothing worse than a hot, muggy day to keep you from enjoying the summertime, right? That is why most of us prefer to stay inside with the air conditioning running when the mercury climbs. This appliance, however, does more than just keep you cool and comfortable during hot weather. It’s an important tool in the prevention of heat related illnesses.
Heat stroke is perhaps the best-known form of heat related illness and for good reason; it’s also the most deadly. Heat stroke occurs when the body’s temperature rises above 105.1 degrees Fahrenheit. Symptoms of heat stroke include a lack of sweating and some confusion. The best way to treat the illness is to get the individual out of the sun and into a building or room with air conditioning. Also, provide them with water. Heat stroke typically affects the elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions.
Similar to heat stroke is heat exhaustion. In fact, heat exhaustion is often a precursor to the onset of heat stroke. The methods for treating it are essentially the same: drink plenty of water and stay near the air conditioning. With heat exhaustion, you do sweat profusely as opposed to heat stroke where you do not at all. Heat exhaustion also has the symptoms of heavy breathing and a weak pulse.
Another common heat affliction is heat rash, or malaria. The condition is caused when the body produces too much sweat and it leaks into deep layers of the skin. The result is a red, inflamed area across the skin. Most people describe the rash as feeling like pins and needles or mildly itchy. This affliction is most common in babies, who have underdeveloped sweat glands. By moving into a cooler environment, such as a room with air conditioning, you eliminate the need to sweat and the rash will dissipate.
Not all heat related ailments are as serious as these though. If you have ever spent any time exercising or doing physical labor outdoors, you know how important it is to drink plenty of water. Dehydration is one of the most common summertime afflictions and it can easily be prevented! Taking frequent breaks during your activity to step into the shade or the indoors, and limiting your time in the heat to the morning or evening hours can go a long way in preventing dehydration. Also, of course, drink plenty of water.
By monitoring your own reactions to the heat, you could save yourself a costly trip to the emergency room or something worse! It is also important to keep an eye on children and the elderly during heat waves and other warm periods, since they are the most susceptible to heat related illnesses. There is no reason not to have a great summer season if you remain mindful of the myriad ways your body reacts to the warmer temperatures. By following these tips and keeping an eye on the thermometer, you will be sure to have a great time this summer!
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