We're in the throes of summer at and July and August will likely be hotter than ever! As Northern Virginia experiences uncomfortable heat waves, we need to be aware of the negative effects of the weather on our health and bodies. It’s important to stay educated when it come to the heat of the summer and heat waves themselves.
What IS a heat wave and how does it affect your health?
Heat waves are often defined as a period where abnormally high temperatures hit and remain for a minimum of two days. Heat waves are characterized by their long durations, high intensity and high mortality impact. These periods of intense heat can be the cause of temporary to severe health concerns. Here are some of the most common reactions to heave waves and ways to help recognize and combat them!
This may seem like a simple summertime nuisance, but sunburn is a warning sign that your body is overheating! In addition to the harmful effects on your skin, sunburn reduces the body’s ability to release excess heat, which can leave you vulnerable to worse heat-related illnesses.
The solution is simple: wear sunscreen and stay in the shade! Don’t spend prolonged periods in the sun where you’re bound to get burned. Make sure to take a break under the umbrella or inside where there is air conditioning blowing!
2. Heat Cramps
A sure sign that your body is overheating is when your muscles begin to fall prey to painful spasms. They usually occur in the abdomen or leg areas, and are caused by heavy exertion in the heat.
If you experience these symptoms, seek out a cooler location and be sure to sip half a glass of cool water every 15 minutes. If the victim experiences any nausea, discontinue the consumption of liquids and remain resting in an air conditioned environment.
3. Heat Exhaustion
Many people don’t realize that heat exhaustion is actually a mild form of shock! The symptoms are easy to spot: heavy sweating, weakness, cold or clammy skin, weak pulse, fainting and vomiting. This usually occurs when someone has been excessively working or moving in a hot and humid place.
Victims of heat exhaustion should be moved to a cool location. Wet cloths should be applied and half a glass of cool water should be sipped every 15 minutes. If the condition is allowed to worsen, the victim could be at risk for a heat stroke, so it’s better to take precautions against the heat and take cover in an air conditioned space!
4. Heat Stroke
This condition is marked by a high body temperature (105 or above) as well as hot, red or dry skin, rapid or weak pulse and either rapid or shallow breathing. Extremes characterize heat stokes. The victim may also lose consciousness. Heat strokes can be life threatening because the body’s internal thermostat has ceased to function.
If a heat stroke is suspected, call 911 immediately or get the victim to the hospital as quickly as possible. Until help arrives, try cooling the victim in a cool bath or wet sheet to help lower body temperature.
All of these harmful effects of a Heat Wave can be avoided by staying out of the heat. That means staying in air conditioned places on days that have heat advisories. Stay hydrated and cool!
F.H. Furr wants to make sure its customers stay safe and healthy all year long. During these warm months, make sure your family has a cool place to escape the rest of the summer heat, don’t let your air conditioning keep you from maintaining a healthy and comfortable lifestyle. For more info on an A/C maintenance, give us a call, we’ll help cool you down!