It’s been a very hot summer in many regions of North America this year, and in other parts of the world as well. In many cases it’s been unseasonably hot and therefore very uncomfortable. Not surprisingly we then hear on the news that heat waves can kill people. Knowing this, I thought it would be prudent to list how some of these extreme hot temperatures affect our health. It’s important to keep in mind that our body’s internal temperature is on average is about 37o C. Even a slight increase in our body’s temperature can have dire consequences, especially when it reaches 40o C or higher.
According to Health Canada, hot temperatures can adversely effect people who have:
- breathing difficulties;
- heart problems;
- kidney problems;
- a mental illness (depression, dementia);
- Parkinson’s disease;
- Or, if you take medication for any of these conditions.
At MyHealthAlberta.ca they caution us about the following heat related symptoms we can get if: we remain in hot and humid temperatures too long, forget to drink enough fluids (not alcohol), over-dress, are over weight, work ourselves too hard, and take medications that trigger the onset of these illnesses. I credit the following definitions to MyHealthAlberta.ca:
Heat Edema (swelling) – occurs when you sit or stand for a long time in a hot and humid environment;
Heat Tetany (hyperventilation and heat stress) – caused by short periods of stress in a hot environment.
Heat Syncope (fainting) – occurs from low blood pressure when heat causes the blood vessels to expand (dilate) and body fluids move into the legs because of gravity.
Heat Exhaustion (heat prostration) – develops when you are working or exercising in hot weather and do not drink enough liquids to replace those lost liquids.
Heatstroke (sunstroke) – occurs when the body fails to regulate its own temperature and body temperature continues to rise, often to 40.6°C (105°F) or higher. This condition is a medical emergency! Call 9-1-1 or get to an Emergency Centre right away.