Heat stress can take a catastrophic toll on the human body, easily pushing the body into heat stroke, which can be invariably fatal at times. Pacing your body, and minimizing one’s exposure to heat and direct sunlight helps to avoid damaging and fatal effects on the body, which can very quickly lead to heat stroke. Heat stress, which is basically heat exhaustion, can easily come on very fast and progress quickly to death. Heat stroke, is when the human body can no longer regulate its temperature, for its temperature is way too high and for prolonged periods of time-seizures, coma and even death can easily result. Start by pacing the amount of physical activity, for every significant activity you do during a heat wave can easily double or triple the amount of stress on the body,
Keeping out of direct sunlight helps the body regulate its temperature much better without being overtaxed by sustained exposure. Learn the symptoms of heat exhaustion so you can better understand them, in case you have to help a friend, family member or even yourself. Stay in the shade, or air-conditioned areas more. Use fans and take advantage of breezes.
The symptoms of heat stress (or exhaustion) include:
1. Profuse, uncontrolled sweating (which is your body’s mechanism to cool itself off).
2. Pale or sickly looking.
3. Unusual tiredness or weakness out of the norm, but related to the heat and in concert with the other symptoms.
4. Vertigo and headaches.
5. Bouts of nauseous feelings and actual vomiting.
6. Confusion and disorientation.
Keep yourself well-hydrated, wear light, loose-fitting clothes, and take cool or lukewarm showers and baths (cold showers or baths may actually help accelerate the body into shock from hot to cold). When you keep yourself cool, drink lots of cold water. It is the best for cooling and regulating body temperature-caffeine and alcoholic beverages actually dehydrate. Plus, try and avoid huge meals during extreme heat, as they can tax the body’s systems. Lighter, more nutritious meals actually helps to regulate your system’s electrolytes like potassium and sodium, which also help to maintain your organs and other systems all year around.
Rest more during very hot days with a fan or air conditioner on if it is very hot. This helps to stabilize your body and its metabolism during very hot days. Avoid heavy running, bicycling and other outdoor sports, except swimming, during heat waves. Taking a dip in the pool or ocean can help bring your body temperature down, preventing heat stress and stroke. Cold treats like ice cream are also excellent on very hot days. Whatever you do, just take it easy and keep yourself as cool as possible, especially if you are elderly or infirm. But always remember, heat exhaustion and heat stroke have affected a cross-spectrum of people – from the young to the old. But knowing and understanding goes a long way towards preventing.