One must pity the chefs and waiters in our busy restaurants right now. Us British folk are probably just as poor at coping with heat as we are with the cold – we do not do well in extremes! Here is some information on how to stay well in the heat
What are the dangers of getting too hot?
You can get heat stroke or heat exhaustion.
Heat exhaustion is where you become very hot and start to lose water or salt from your body. Signs of heat exhaustion you would experience or see are:-
- Heavy sweating
- Nausea or vomiting
- Intense thirst
Heat stroke is where the body is no longer able to cool itself and a person’s body temperature becomes dangerously high. It is less common but more serious. Signs of heat stroke you would see are:-
- Throbbing headache,
- Red, hot and dry skin (no sweating)
- Confusion, seizures, loss of consciousness
Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not provided
How to prevent heat stroke or exhaustion
Prevention is about self-care and changing your environment where possible.
- Do not go out in the hottest part of the day
- When out try to walk in the shade, wear a hat and avoid over-exerting yourself
- Keep your home as cool as possible by closing windows and curtains exposed to the sun and then opening them a night. It also helps to put bowls of water around the house
- Use an electric fan
- Wear light, loose fitting clothes, cotton if possible
- Drink plenty of fluids. Advice varies on if these should be hot or cold, but the main thing is drinking what you enjoy. Avoid excess alcohol or caffeine.
- To cool yourself down, have a cool shower or bath, or pat your skin down with a wet cloth. Even better, sprinkle water on your skin or clothes and sit by the fan!
Who is at risk of heat stroke or exhaustion?
The people most at risk are
- The elderly because they do not adjust as well as young people to sudden changes in temperature. Also, they are more likely to have a chronic medical condition and be on medications that change how their body responds to heat
- The very young. They are at risk because their body temperature control has not yet fully developed
- People with severe physical or mental illnesses who cannot do their own self-care
- People undergoing intense medical treatments or who are on multiple medications, both of which may lower their body’s ability to regulate temperature
What to do in an emergency situation regarding heat
If someone is severely affected by the heat they, or their carer needs to
- Seek help from the emergency services
- In the case of loss of consciousness put the person in the recovery position (laying on their side with the lower arm and leg brought forward)
- Try to cool down quickly – wet the skin and clothes with cool water, sit in a cool shower or bath
- If able to drink cool fluids