Hot weather spells danger

June 23, 1997

Facts about the heat

  • Temperatures above 90 degrees can be very dangerous, especially when the humidity is also high. Crowded living conditions increase this danger.
  • Your body needs time to adjust to hot weather. A sudden increase in temperature, especially in the early summer, is particularly dangerous because your body is unprepared for the strain.
  • It doesn't take a "killer heat wave" to kill you. If you are feeling hot and uncomfortable, take steps to avoid heat stress.
  • Heat stress can cause many medical problems including heat exhaustion, heat stroke, heart failure and stroke. Proper precautions can make you more comfortable, prevent illness and even safe your life.

Watch your step

Your chances of getting sick in hot weather are increased by:

  • A weak or damaged heart
  • Hypertension
  • Problems with circulation
  • Diabetes
  • A previous stroke
  • Overweight
  • Infection or fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Drinking alcoholic beverages
  • Skin diseaess or sunburn which may reduce sweating
  • Medications

    Many medications can make you much more vulnerable to the heat. If you take medicine for high blood pressure, nervousness, depression, poor circulation or sleeplessness, check with your doctor or pharmacist for advice.


Early warning signs

  • Mild signs: hot weather makes most people feel uncomfortable, and can cause a lack of energy or slight loss of appetite. These are mild signs of heat stress, and unless they last a long time, there is no need to be alarmed.
  • Serious signs: heat stress can also cause more serious physical and mental changes. These changes are important signals that your body is in danger.

If you experience any of the following serious signs during hot weather, call your doctor or seek other medical help.

  • Dizziness
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Throbbing headache
  • Dry skin (no sweating)
  • Chest pain
  • Great weakness
  • Mental changes
  • Breathing problems
  • Vomiting
  • Cramps

Pay attention to the early warning signs of heat illness. Heat stress can be fatal, and the serious signs mean that you are losing the battle.

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