How heat waves kill people and how we can stay safe

About 50 million people are on heat stroke alerts on Tuesday.

High temperatures are not only uncomfortable and unhealthy, they can even kill you.Of all natural disasters, heat waves number one killer, studies show that more people have died than hurricanes and tornadoes combined.of Maricopa County, ArizonaThere have been at least 111 confirmed heat-related deaths this season alone.

“The most problematic thing about heat is that it’s an insidious climate problem, because it kills a lot of people, but it’s not as impressive as a hurricane or something like that,” said environmental epidemiologist Tariq Venmaniah. It’s insidious because it just happens all the time,” said environmental epidemiologist Tariq Benmarnia. University of California San Diego.

Since 1980, heat-related deaths have increased by 74%. A 2021 study was found. Underway climate crisishigh temperatures are expected to worsen, and heat waves will last longer and affect parts of the country unaccustomed to them.
Most heat-related deaths and health problems can avoidThree of the most common conditions to watch out for are dehydration, heat stroke, and heat stroke.


Your body needs water and other fluids to function. If you lose more water than you take in, dehydration.

Mild or moderate dehydration can be managed by drinking more fluids, but severe dehydration requires medical attention.

The problem is that your body doesn’t always tell you early enough that it needs more water. Older people often do not feel thirsty until they are actually dehydrated.

Experts say that when you have to go out in the heat, it’s important to drink water before you go out. may not catch up About what your body needs.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends drinking a glass (8 ounces) of water at least every 15 to 20 minutes while you’re outside, especially if you’re working or exercising in the heat. But don’t drink more than 48 ounces per hour. lower sodium levels Too much can cause confusion and other health problems.

You should also stay hydrated after coming back indoors from the heat and drink enough water to replace the lost sweat.

Chronic dehydration increases the risk of kidney stones and urinary tract infections, which can lead to long-term problems.


The “most worrying consequence” of high fever is heat stroke, said Dr. Scott Dresden, an assistant professor of emergency medicine at Northwestern University.

When heatstrokethe body cannot cool itself and regulate its temperature.
At normal temperatures, your body loses water through sweating, breathing, and going to the bathroom. However, when the humidity exceeds 75%, sweating stops workingOur bodies can only give off heat when the outside temperature is cooler than our body temperature, usually around 98.6 degrees.

When your body temperature rises too quickly, your natural cooling mechanism, sweat, stops working. A person’s body temperature can rise above a dangerous 106°C in just 10-15 minutes. This can lead to disability and even death.

Older people, people taking certain medications such as beta-blockers and antidepressants, and children can all have trouble regulating their body temperature. There is likely to be.

First on CNN: Rising extreme heat is taking a toll on our health.

If someone is confused, has flushed skin, breathes rapidly, or complains of a headache, move to shade or move to air conditioning. Cool your neck, head, armpits, and groin area with cool water, an ice pack, or a wet towel. And get medical help as soon as possible.

People with heat stroke may sweat profusely or not at all. They can become confused or faint, or have seizures. Left untreated, heat stroke can quickly damage the brain. Your heart can beat dangerously fast and your body can shut down.

Wearing loose, lightweight clothing can reduce the chance of heat stroke. Also wear sunscreen: Sunburned people are less able to regulate their body temperature. drink lots of water. Avoid working or exercising outdoors during the hottest hours of the day. Acclimate to high temperatures before starting a marathon or other extreme outdoor exercise.


Heat stroke occurs when the body loses too much water and salt through excessive sweating. Typically, this can occur if you are exposed to hot and humid environments or if you are involved in strenuous physical activity such as running or soccer.

Heat stroke is the leading cause of death and disability among high school athletes in the United States. According to the CDC. However, it can be a problem for those who participate in everyday activities such as mowing the lawn or walking.

Signs of heat stroke include cold, damp skin with goosebumps, profuse sweating, fainting or feeling tired, abnormal heart rate, muscle cramps, headache or nausea.

Extreme heat is a matter of life and death for migrant workers in Asia.

If you or someone else seems to be suffering from heat stroke, rest in the shade or in an air conditioner. drink cold water; If symptoms do not improve, see a doctor.

At that point, therapy isn’t all that fun. “Usually we use an ice bath in the emergency room,” Dresden said. “Perform a cold water soak.”

If that’s not available, the hospital may try damp sheets and a large fan.

how to stay healthy in the heat

Extreme temperatures may be associated with at least 17 causes of death, most of them related to heart and respiratory problems, but also including suicide, drowning and homicide.

Studies have shown that exposure to extreme heat can lead to mental health problems, problems in pregnant women, and worsening birth outcomes.

Be aware of temperature extremes, even if you’re not working or exercising outdoors.

Dr. Stephanie Raleau, an emergency room physician in Rocky Mount, Virginia, says it’s important to pay attention to the heat index as well as the temperature. This takes into account humidity, which can be more important in case of heatstroke.

When planning your activities, try to keep them away from the heat, especially if you have young children or the elderly, as they can’t handle it either.

“Make sure everyone is getting enough water,” LaRaud said. “You don’t need to drink a lot of water, but just try to drink a little bit before you get thirsty, especially when you’re thirsty. These things are very important. Heat stroke can be completely cured with the right approach.” You can avoid it.”


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