Being cautious of Summer Heat

By Patrick Olabode CNP MSN

PATRICK OLABODE, PRN
PATRICK OLABODE, PRN

These days we have temperature at between 70 degrees Fahrenheit and 90degrees while humidity is between 50percent and 70ercent. These are excessive heat and humidity season. Excessive heat accompanied with humid conditions pose risk for dehydration, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Exposure to heat can cause heat rash, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and the most serious heat stroke. Precautions should be taken to prevent illnesses during high temperature and heat waves.

Heat stroke otherwise known as sunstroke is the most serious form of heat injury and is considered a medical emergency. The medical definition of heat stroke is a body temperature greater than 105 degrees Fahrenheit (105oF) or 40.5 degrees Celsius (40.5oC) with complications involving brain damage due to the high temperature.

Heat stroke often occurs as a progression from milder heat-related illnesses such as heat cramps, fainting and heat exhaustion. Heat stroke can kill or cause damage to the brain and other internal organs.

Risk factors eye2

  • Age-Infants and children up to age 4 and adults over 65 are mainly vulnerable due to their inability to adjust to heat quickly.
  • Health conditions-Chronic diseases  such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart, lung and kidney disease, obesity, underweight, sickle cell trait, alcoholism and mental illness are potential risks
  • Medications-such as antihistamines, diet pills, diuretics (water pill), stimulants, anticonvulsant, sedatives, tranquilizers and heart and blood pressure medications can make someone prone to heat stroke.
  • Others

-High temperature and humidity, direct sun exposure for a long period of time

-Physical work or activity

-Low fluid/liquid intake

-Waterproof clothing

Symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke

  • Thirst, nausea
  • Throbbing headache
  • Dizziness and light headedness
  • Disorientation and fainting
  • Lack of sweating despite the heat
  • Red, hot, dry skin
  • Muscle weakness or cramps
  • Rapid heart beat, irritability or confusion
  • Seizures, loss of consciousness, coma

Prevention

  • Drink plenty of fluids and drink often to prevent dehydration
  • Use sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or more
  • Avoid beverages containing alcohol or caffeine as they worsen the situation
  • Wear lightweight, light colored, loose-fitting clothes and wide-brimmed hat
  • Be aware that poor physical condition and health problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes, pregnancy, cold and flu and some medications can increase the risk of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

 

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