Summertime is often considered by most people as the time to have fun, excitement, relaxation, outdoor activities, and sightseeing the beautiful sceneries of the countryside. But, although these things may have a positive impact to an individual, they carry risks as well. Most of these risks are heat-related when an individual is having too much exposure to intense heat.
It is during the hot weather days that we are sweating a lot. Well, that’s a good thing. Sweating is the human body’s way of cooling itself down. That’s why it’s advisable to drink more water and other fluids in order to replenish the water lost through sweating and to also prevent dehydration.
Heat-related illnesses usually surfaced during the hot weather days or summertime and the most vulnerable ones or people at the highest risk, according to the Centers for Disease Control or CDC, are the elderly, the very young, and people with mental illness or chronic diseases. Heat-illness could be categorized into these three:
- Heat exhaustion. It is a heat-related illness often manifested with symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and headache. To treat someone who is suffering from this condition is to immediately move him or her to a cool environment, fan the body and remove excess clothing, and placing ice over the groin and underarm areas.
- Heat cramps. It would occur with mild dehydration and the depletion of salt in the blood. They’re usually felt in the legs, calves, and ankles. This condition could be relieved by stretching the muscles along with hydrating the body with drinks containing electrolytes solution.
- Heat stroke. It is a medical emergency and considered as the most dangerous of the three. A person suffering from heat stroke manifests with symptoms like dry but hot skin, rapid pulse, and difficulty in breathing. It may also be accompanied by severe neurologic disturbances. Bring the victim to the nearest hospital immediately.
The most common to all heat-related illnesses is dehydration. Preventing it is a must. When a person is feeling thirsty, he’s already dehydrated by two to three percent.
So thirst is not the best indicator for dehydration. The best way to prevent dehydration is for a person to drink more water than usual during hot weather days involving active outdoor activities. Parents must encourage their children to drink as many as twelve glasses of water a day.
During the hot weather days, skin disorders are also common among children. This is due to the fact that, according to a Pediatric study, younger children’s skin has a higher pH, less fatty acid content, increased susceptibility to water loss and absorption, and thermal instability. Children are prone to skin disorders because, as what their skin’s natural physiologic features may be worsened by heat, they tend to scratch more and moisturize less.
Sunburn, miliaria, impetigo, and intertrigo are the most common of these heat-related skin disorders. When kids are being exposed to the scorching heat of the sun unprotected for very long hours, they got sunburns. Sunburns, by the way, are first degree burns due to overexposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun.