Wellness Wednesday: Weathering the heat

Do you know how hot you are ? Do you even know how hot is too hot ? Find out here before things get too hot to handle. 

One of the body's main tasks is to maintain a constant internal temperature. Our physiologic functions depend on it. There may be fairly wide fluctuations in our external temperature, but our core temperature must stay quite steady, near 98.6 degrees F. If it does not, we can suffer heat exhaustion and heat stroke.  Per Outside Magazine (reference)" On average, nearly 700 people die each year from extreme heat. ". 

When are people at risk ? 

  • During heat index of 90 degrees or more 
  • During relative humidity of 60% or more 
  • When working in contact with hot objects, or wearing bulky protective clothing 
  • When in places of direct sun with little air movement 
  • When they are very young, very old or unhealthy

Heat exhaustion

  • Caused by loss of body water through excessive sweating
  • Symptoms of heavy sweating, weakness dizziness, visual disturbances, thirst, vomiting, diarrhea, shortness of breath, palpitations, tingling of hands and feet and collapse
  • Treatment- cool and hydrate the person by any means possible as quickly as possible

Heat stroke

  • Results when the body can no longer cool itself though sweating or other means and the core temperature rises to 104 or higher. 
  • Symptoms are confusion, agitation, irritability, seizures, coma and brain and other organ damage. 
  • Heat stroke victims usually do not recognize their own symptoms. 
  • Skin will be dry if heat stroke is caused by hot weather, but moist if caused by vigorous exercise. 
  • Skin is flushed, breathing is rapid and shallow. 
  • Heat stroke comes on quickly.
  • If heat stroke is suspected, it is imperative to call 911 to get immediate medical attention
  • Treatment- Cool and hydrate the person by any means possible as quickly as possible while waiting for the ambulance. 

Engineer shade, breaks and ample hydration into your summer activities to keep everyone safe and comfortable in the heat.