The autopsy of football player, Michael Owen, has revealed that the cause of death was not heat-related. The examination found that he had a heart condition. This is just one example of how heat can have an impact on your health. Here are some tips to help you stay safe during these hot summer days!
Heat related problems are most likely to affect the elderly, young children and people with cardiovascular diseases. Heat affects everyone differently so it is important to be aware of what’s happening to your body in the hot weather. Some changes might feel unpleasant but most are not serious. If they last for more than a few days without you noticing any improvement, call a doctor.
Extremely high temperatures may cause events such as heat stroke, which can be fatal. This is when the body overheats and cannot cool itself down anymore. Sweating stops and the body temperature goes up very quickly, more than 40 degrees Celsius in less than an hour. If you are experiencing one of the following symptoms it might be a sign that you need to seek medical help immediately:
Headache Dizziness Nausea and vomiting Unconsciousness Mental confusion
This last symptom occurred in Michael Owen. This information is also relevant because, according to scientists, the number of heart attacks increases with temperatures above 20 degrees Celsius and this number is even higher when it’s extremely hot.
Teens and children are most likely to experience heat-related health problems because of their size, which makes them more sensitive to warm temperatures. Their body has a harder time regulating its temperature and it is important to make sure they stay out of the sun, especially during the hottest hours (11:00 – 15:00). Also, it is important to make sure they drink enough (water) and get out of the heat regularly.
If you are about to visit a sports event or go for a hike, make sure you use sunscreen, wear clothes that protect your skin from ultraviolet radiation and bring water with you.
Remember these tips when planning your next outdoor activities:
Stay hydrated. Drink water every 15 to 20 minutes, even if you are not thirsty. Take a drink even before starting the activity.
Avoid direct contact with heat sources (ovens, fireplaces, heaters). Be careful when using AC or fans in your home because these appliances can give off hot air and use lots of electricity.
Reduce outdoor activities to morning and evening, when temperatures are lower.
Wear light clothing that covers your arms and legs. Wear a hat to cover your head if you don’t have long hair.
Take breaks in the shade but not too much because it can cause sunburns even with sunscreen on! If possible, check the UV index before doing anything outdoors because it measures how much of the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation reaches the earth’s surface based on several factors, including ozone levels.
Sunscreen should be applied at least 20 minutes before you go outside and should be reapplied every 2 hours or after swimming or exercising. The best protection is staying inside during peak sun hours, which is between 11:00 and 15:00.
We hope this article helps you protect yourself from the sun. Here at Apollonia University we wish you a great summer!