While summers are hailed for the respite they give from the long, cold winters, it’s also the season where the temperature rises and excess heat can sometimes cause physical harm. Summers require a little extra self care to make sure you don’t develop any heat-related illnesses. For instance, if you are exposed to excessive heat and humidity for an extended period without relief or adequate hydration, you might develop a heat-related illness.
Let's talk about them in detail.
What Happens To The Body Due To Heat?
Humans have to maintain a body temperature below 98℃ to avoid heat related issues. Once the body is unable to eliminate the heat, it loses its heat balance.
Sweat glands in our body are the main agents that help draw water from the bloodstream producing sweat; sweating is the natural cooling mechanism of our body and is a way to release heat.
However, too much sweating without replenishing the lost fluid can result in dehydration, where the body loses water and salt, essentially for the functioning of the muscles. This can in turn, cause muscle cramping. Heat illness causes the body to become tired, dehydrated, weak, and confused due to the physiological strain.
When the body becomes dehydrated, it cannot maintain a normal body temperature, sweating stops, and serious heat illness develops. When an individual suffers from heatstroke, their body temperature rapidly rises, which can damage the brain, muscles, and vital organs.
The most common heat-related illnesses are
Heat rash is additionally known as prickly heat, and appears as blisters or red bumps on your body that are itchy and turn your skin red. They're caused as a result of clogged pores and excessive sweating and are typically found on the chest, neck, groin, and so on.
- One should keep the heat rash dry
- Apply powder to it so that it doesn't lead to inflammation
- Stay away from humid climate
- Wear loose and dry cotton clothes
When the body is exposed to tremendous amounts of heat with excessive sweating and no fluid intake, it can lead to a condition called Heat Exhaustion. You might notice symptoms like nausea, vomiting, headache, weak pulse, fainting, etc.
- Wear a wet cloth on your body to feel better or take a cold shower
- Move to a cooler place
- Hydrate yourself
- Go to a doctor if you are vomiting
Heatstroke happens when the body's heat-regulating system is overwhelmed by excessive heat and cannot release more heat. Getting help for heatstroke is essential. The symptoms you'd feel during it would be high body temperature above 103℃, dizziness, high pulse rate, loss of consciousness etc.
- Shift to a cold room
- Try to reduce body temperature
- Call the hospital as it's an emergency
- Don't drink anything
A heat cramp is a heat-related illness that occurs when muscles cramp during or after intense exercise or sweating in high temperatures. While sweating, your body loses all the minerals, fluids and salts (electrolyte) leading to cramps in your body.
- Hydrate yourself with water or sports drinks
- Rest in a cool place
- Don't do any physical activity until your cramps reduce
Heat-related illnesses are preventable. Take precautions when you or a loved one exhibits heat-related symptoms.
References:What is Heat Illness?, Heat Illness: Prevention, Symptoms & Treatment, Warning Signs and Symptoms of Heat-Related Illness | Natural Disasters and Severe Weather | CDC and Heat-Related Illnesses (Heat Cramps, Heat Exhaustion, Heat Stroke) | Johns Hopkins Medicine