Stay Healthy in Hot Weather

Some 200 people in the US die each summer from health problems caused by hot weather, and this number is doubled when the summer is exceptionally hot. Here are three major hot weather threats that can be moderated, or avoided completely.

Heat cramps warn of dehydration and muscular deprivation of needed oxygen. The problem can be solved by drinking cool water, stretching, and light massage of the affected areas.

Heat Exhaustion is apparent when the body temperature is seriously elevated, often above 103 degrees F, and weakness, lethargy, loss of concentration, headache and nausea follow. Judgement can be affected, and the solution is to choose a cool spot, take of excess clothing, drink cool fluids, and apply any available ice packs.

Heat stroke can affect older people who stay at home without air-conditioning. Other victims include men who exercise during hot weather. Weakness and confusion can create delirium, stupor, coma and seizures, so heat stroke should be recognized as a real medical emergency, where survival depends on immediate treatment in a hospital.

Try the following to avoid hot weather health problems:

  • Hydrate: drink 10-12 cups of water daily, more if exercise is involved
  • Stay cool: move into a room with a fan or air-conditioning
  • Stay out of the sun, particularly midday sun, and wear light, loose-fitting clothes
  • Avoid exercising in hot or humid conditions

Source: Harvard Men’s Health Watch, August, 2008

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