it's Boiling Hot...
are heat-related health problems?
Heat-related health problems happen when your body temperature
gets too high. People suffer heat-related illness when the
body's temperature control system is overloaded. The body
normally cools itself by sweating. But under some conditions,
sweating just is not enough. In such cases, a person's body
temperature rises rapidly. Very high body temperatures may
damage the brain or other vital organs.
the very young and people with mental illness and chronic
diseases are at highest risk. However, even young and healthy
individuals can succumb to heat if they participate in strenuous
physical activities during hot weather.
factors affect the body's ability to cool itself during extremely
hot weather. When the humidity is high, sweat will not evaporate
as quickly, preventing the body from releasing heat quickly.
Other conditions that can limit the ability to regulate temperature
include old age, obesity, fever, dehydration, heart disease,
poor circulation, sunburn, and drug and alcohol use.
is the strongest protective factor against heat-related illness.
Electric fans may provide comfort, but when the temperature
is in the high 90s (Fahrenheit), fans will not prevent heat-related
illness. Taking a cool shower or bath or moving to an air-conditioned
place is a much better way to cool off. Exposure to air conditioning
for even a few hours a day will reduce the risk for heat-related
activity, whether on the playing field or the construction
site, must be balanced with measures that aid the body's cooling
mechanisms and prevent heat-related illness.
are five types of heat-related problems:
When you are in the sun for too long, your skin can burn.
This is called a sunburn.
Too much sweating causes a heat rash. The sweat irritates
your skin and causes small, red bumps to form. It usually
happens on the neck and chest, in the groin, under the breasts,
and at the elbow joint.
People who sweat a lot during exercise can get heat cramps.
Sweat is made of your body's salt and water. When you sweat
a lot, your body loses too much salt. The low salt level causes
muscles to tighten and cramp, which can be painful. They usually
happen in your arm and leg muscles. Heat cramps can be a sign
of heat exhaustion.
Heat exhaustion happens when your body sweats too much. Your
body loses too much salt and water. If not treated, heat exhaustion
can lead to a heat stroke.
Heat stroke occurs when your body cannot cool itself. Your
body temperature can get to 103 to 106 degrees Fahrenheit
within 10 to 15 minutes. This is very dangerous. It can cause
permanent injury or death.
can get them?
Anyone can get a heat-related health problem or heat illness.
Those most at risk are:
*infants and young children
*those who work or exercise outdoors in the heat
*people who are ill or taking medicines
are the signs and symptoms?
*Red and painful skin
*Blisters (if the sunburn is severe)
*Red, small bumps on your skin
*Muscles tighten, cramp or spasm
*High body temperature
*Nausea and vomiting
*Cool, clammy skin
*Body temperature over 103 degrees Fahrenheit
*Red, hot and dry skin
*Disorientation -- not knowing what is happening
are they treated?
*Stay out of the sun.
*Put the sunburned skin under cool water.
*Put lotion over it to keep the skin moist.
*Do not pop the blisters. Cover them with clean gauze or cloth.
*Acetaminophen (such as Panedol) or ibuprofen can help with
*Get out of the heat.
*Keep the heat rash dry. Do not put lotions or creams on it.
* will go away with time.
*Sit in a cool place.
*Eat salted foods. DO NOT take salt tablets.
*Massage the muscle.
*Stretch the muscle.
*Get out of the heat and sun.
*Drink plenty of fluids.
*Get a sponge bath or place wet towels over body.
*Call your doctor if you think someone has heat exhaustion.
*Get the person out of the heat and sun.
*Call a doctor.
*Cool the person however you can. Examples: Get them in a
cool bath or shower; spray them with cool water from a garden
*Give him a cool sponge bath.
*Continue cooling them until their body temperature drops
to 101 or 102 degrees Fahrenheit, or until medical personnel
long do they last?
*Sunburn usually heals in about 1 week.
*Heat Rashes usually clear up in about 1 week.
*Heat Cramps usually go away within 1 hour.
*Heat Exhaustion lasts until the body temperature and body
fluids are normal.
*Heat Stroke lasts until the body temperature and body fluids
are normal. Damage from heat stroke can be permanent.
they be prevented?
Yes, all heat-related health problems and heat illnesses can
*Wear sunscreen. Put it on before going into the sun. Put
more on often, especially if sweating or swimming.
*Drink plenty of fluids.
*Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
*Exercise early in the morning or later in the day.
*Take time to rest during your activity.
*Wear lightweight clothing.
*If you feel sick, stop exercising or working. Sit down in
a cool place.
*Stay cool indoors.
*Always exercise with a friend.
Virtual Children's Hospital and Minnesota Department of Health,
(R) thedailystar.net 2005