Hot Weather Can Be As Dangerous As Cold
Generally, when we think of dangers from the weather, we generally imagine those that can be posed by winter weather. Those of us who live in northern states worry about being stranded in our cars or getting lost in the snow and freezing to death. This is a real danger, and one that can happen if you do not take precautions when travelling or going outside in a blizzard. Losing the electric power at your home during a severe snowstorm can also pose serious difficulties. However, the hot weather of summer can also harm you, in a number of ways.
Staying out in the sun during the summer without the protection of the proper clothing and/or a good sunscreen, can result in sunburn. Almost everyone has gotten sunburn at one time or another, and usually these are fairly minor sunburns that will cause a bit of pain for a day or two, then peel and result in a tan. Unfortunately, prolonged exposure to the sun can cause blisters and even sun poisoning. Sun poisoning can result in dehydration, shock, and serious burns. You will have to seek medical care if sun poisoning causes fever, confusion, headaches, extreme pain, and nausea. This can even cause fainting.
Besides the immediate effects of sunburn, there are long term problems associated not only with sunburn, but even with a ‘healthy tan’. Many people have found that they become prematurely aged from being in the sun, and the damage done to the skin will often lead to skin cancer in later years.
Heat Stroke and Heat Exhaustion
The root of these ailments is simply that the body becomes too hot and dehydrated. Some people have to work during the hottest weather, and these, along with those who may be engaged in sports, will be most susceptible to these conditions. These are both serious conditions that can lead to death, so it is best to understand what the symptoms are and how to treat them.
When the weather is hot and humid and the activity level is high, anyone has a good chance of suffering from dehydration. Sweating causes water loss from the body, and unless this fluid is replaced, the person can collapse. Water may not be the best beverage to drink when it is hot and dehydration begins – an electrolyte imbalance will probably occur which will make it almost impossible for the water to actually get into your body. Under these circumstances, it is best to drink an energy drink like Gatorade to restore your electrolyte imbalance and get fluids into your system. You should also get into the shade, and into as cool a place as possible. A tub of tepid (not cold) water is a good way to lower your body temperature, too. Make sure to always have an emergency supply of water available where ever you go and if possible, carry Gatorade as well. Calories also are important to keep energy up when you are in the heat. Keep emergency food supplies available at all times.
Although the above methods will work well with most early cases of heat stroke, there is also a time when medical help must be sought. If the person is vomiting, confused, suffering from cramps, or has a body temperature above 104 F, they should be taken to an emergency room for treatment as intravenous fluids will have to be given to stabilize their condition.