What happens to the body during extreme heat

South Florida has experienced above normal temperatures the entire month, even triggering a heat advisory last week.

This is what the Palm Beach County Health Department wants you to know about the high temperatures.

sunrise082518

What happens to the body as a result of exposure to extreme heat?

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 isn’t enough. In such cases, a person’s body temperature rises rapidly. Very high body temperatures may damage the brain or other vital organs. Several factors affect the body’s ability to cool itself, including high humidity.

Who is at greatest risk for heat-related illness?

Infants and children up to four years of age, people 65 years of age and older, people who are overweight, and people who are ill or on certain medications are most at risk of heat-related illnesses.

Check The Palm Beach Post radar map.

What is heat stroke?

Heat stroke is the most serious heat-related illness. It occurs when the body becomes unable to control its temperature: the body’s temperature rises rapidly, the sweating mechanism fails, and the body is  unable to cool down. Body temperature may rise to 106 degrees or higher within 10 to 15 minutes. Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if not treated immediately.

What are the signs of heat stroke?

Body temperature above 103 degrees.

Red, hot and dry skin (no sweating).

Rapid, strong pulse.

Throbbing headache.

Dizziness, nausea and confusion.

Download the Palm Beach Post WeatherPlus app here.

Nicole Fernandes, age 12, of West Palm Beach cools off in the water park in Bill Moss Hillcrest Paseo in West Palm Beach Wednesday, June 17, 2015. "This is our first time here, " said her mother Susan. "It is beautiful. We came to cool off on the spur of the moment." A high pressure system is forecast to keep South Florida hot over the next few days, with temperatures reaching 89 degrees today and higher through the rest of the week. (Bruce R. Bennett / The Palm Beach Post)

Nicole Fernandes, age 12, of West Palm Beach cools off in the water park in Bill Moss Hillcrest Paseo in West Palm Beach Wednesday, June 17, 2015. (Bruce R. Bennett / The Palm Beach Post)

How much should I drink during hot weather? 

You need to drink more liquid than your thirst indicates. Increase your fluid intact, regardless of your activity level. During heavy exercise in a hot environment, drink two to four glasses of cool fluids each hour. Avoid alcohol because it will cause dehydration.

Should I take salt tablets during hot weather? 

Do not take salt tables unless directed by your doctor. Heavy sweating removes salt and minerals from the body, but the easiest and safest way to do this is through drinking fruit juice or a sports beverage.

What is the best clothing for hot weather? 

Wear as little clothing as possible when you are at home. Choose lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. In the hot sun, a wide-brimmed hat will provide shade, loose-fitting clothing and long sleeves are also best. Be sure to apply sunscreen. Sunburn affects your body’s ability to cool itself and causes a loss of body fluids.

Can medications increase the risk of heat-related illness? 

The risk of heat-related illness and death may increase among people using the following drugs; psychotropics, medications for Parkinson’s disease and tranquilizers.

How effective are electric fans in preventing heat-related illness? 

Fans may provide some comfort, but when the temperature is in the high 90s, 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. Consider going to a shopping mall or library if you do not have air conditioning.

Reader Comments 0

0 comments