As summer approaches and the days get longer, the risks of working out in hot weather increase. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), heatstroke is the most serious heat-related disorder and occurs when the body is unable to control its temperature. Body temperature can rise to 106 degrees Fahrenheit or higher in 10 to 15 minutes and if left untreated, heatstroke can lead to death or permanent disability. There are many heat-related disorders which include heat exhaustion, heat cramps, and heat rash.
As summer approaches quickly, remember that hot, humid weather can be dangerous to your health. Warmer weather causes more deaths than any other weather-related crisis. In hot and humid conditions, your body should work harder – just to maintain a normal temperature.
Climate change will result in global warming and the increasing frequency and intensity of heat waves in the 21st century. Extended periods of high day and night temperatures create accumulated physical stress on the human body which exacerbates the top causes of death globally, including respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, diabetes mellitus, and renal disease. Heatwaves can severely affect large populations in the short term, often exacerbating public health crises, and resulting in excessive mortality, and socio-economic. They can also damage the ability to deliver health care, where frequent power outages with heatwaves disrupt health facilities, transport, and water infrastructure.
Prolonged exposure to heat waves and rising temperatures raises awareness of health risks. Health professionals should adjust their planning and interventions given rising temperatures and heatwaves. Practical, feasible, and often low-cost interventions at individual, community, institutional, governmental, and social levels can save lives
How does heat affect health?
The increase in human body heat may be due to a combination of external heat from the environment and internal body heat generated by metabolic processes. The rapid rise in heat due to exposure to above-average heat can impair the body’s ability to regulate temperature and can lead to a cascade of illnesses including heat cramps, heat exhaustion, heatstroke, and hyperthermia.
The heat can cause your fingers, toes, or ankles to swell and your skin to feel tight. It is not serious and usually goes away when you get cold and lift your legs. Talk to your doctor if it causes pain, is happening, or is not getting better.
This happens, often in hot humid weather, when you sweat so much that your sweat glands become blocked. When your pores can’t get rid of it, you can tear into small red bumps. It is more likely under your armpits, groin, neck, elbows, and breasts. Babies can have a similar reaction, especially under their chin or in their groin area, you can help prevent and treat it if you wear light, loose, absorbent clothing like cotton.
Heat death and hospitalization can occur very quickly (on the same day) or have an effect (after several days) and result in an accelerated death or illness in an already debilitating condition, especially in the first days of a heatwave. Even small differences in seasonal average temperatures are associated with increased morbidity and mortality. Extreme temperature can also worsen chronic conditions, including cardiovascular, respiratory, and cerebrovascular disease and diabetes-related conditions.
Heat also has significant indirect health effects. Heat conditions can alter complex social structures such as human behavior, disease transmission, healthcare delivery, air quality and energy, transportation, and water. The extent and nature of the effects of heat on health depend on the time, intensity, and duration of the occurrence of temperature, the level of adaptation, and the adaptability of the local population, infrastructural facilities, and institutions to the prevailing climate. The exact threshold at which the temperature represents a hazardous condition varies by region, other factors such as humidity and wind, local level of human adaptation, and readiness for heat conditions.
Who is affected?
Rising global temperatures affect the entire population. However, some populations have a higher risk of death from physical or socio-economic exposure to physical stress, growing illness, and exposure to excessive heat. These include infants and children, elders, pregnant women, outdoor and manual workers, athletes, and the poor.
- Drink plenty of water even if you are not thirsty.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol, which make you dehydrated.
- Eat lighter meals, more often.
- Wear light, light-colored clothing.
- Check out loved ones who live alone or do not have air conditioning.
- Stay inside as much as possible and avoid outside work.
- Never leave a baby or pet alone in the car, even if it is not so hot outside.
It can be life-threatening, and heat exhaustion and heatstroke are not the only causes. Heat can also exacerbate heart problems, and exacerbate breathing problems, as it accelerates air pollution. Your city or local health department may have information online about where to find public pools, air-conditioned spaces, medical help, and other help during heat waves.
– Amrin Ahmed