Stay cool: How heat affects your health
Hot enough for ya? Ha. Ha. I don’t know if you’ve heard, but most of the country is dealing with
Hot enough for ya? Ha. Ha. I don’t know if you’ve heard, but most of the country is dealing with a heat wave. While Oscar Wilde said that talking about the weather is the “last refuge of the unimaginative, we really should discuss how extreme heat can seriously affect your health.
According to Health Canada, high temperatures can affect your body directly, but putting you at risk for heat-related illness, or indirectly, by exacerbating pre-existing conditions. For example, hot weather can put increased stress on your heart, because it will need to beat faster in order to get blood to your extremities and to keep your organs cool. So those with heart conditions need to take extra precautions to keep their core body temperatures down.
A direct heat illness such as heat stroke can be a serious risk when temperatures are high. Those who are overweight or obese are 3.5 times more likely to suffer heat stroke than those of average weight, according to this report in the Toronto Star. Someone suffering heat stroke will have a body temperature of 40-41°C, but he/she will have stopped sweating. Other symptoms include a throbbing headache, dizziness, nausea and confusion.
While you may think that keeping cool isn’t exactly rocket science, consider the following:
‘ Have you cut back on your outdoor workouts? Health Canada recommends limiting your physical activity, especially if you’re at risk for heat-related illness.
‘ Limit your ice-cold beer consumption. Alcoholic and high-sugar drinks can be dehydrating.
‘ Check with your doctor if you take medication as side effects may change during extreme heat.
What are you doing to beat the heat?