Deaths from extreme heat were once common in hot places such as Death Valley. Today, it seems that no place is immune to lethal temperatures.
Fever can be fatal, but it can also exacerbate current conditions and put health at risk, said Dr. Prabh Selvam, an emergency physician at the health-focused relief and development nonprofit Americaless. Stated. Heat-related tip sheet for the masses.
“People can easily become dehydrated in a heat emergency, and the heart and lungs have to work harder to keep oxygen and blood flowing to the organs,” Selvam said. .
“When you have these underlying health problems and add the stress of heat, their bodies just don’t have the coping capacity that a healthy person can.”
If you have heart disease or high blood pressure, your heart is already under stress. US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Overweight and obesity are also risk factors. Because being overweight makes your body retain more heat.
“People with liver or lung disease are also at increased risk,” says Selvam. “It is important to note that people who are socio-economically disadvantaged, homeless and living in public housing without air conditioning etc. are at the highest risk from heat. People with health problems are at even higher risk.”
More than 1 in 7 U.S. adults have chronic kidney disease, and 9 in 10 of those don’t know it. CDC And 1 in 3 people with severe kidney disease don’t know it.
Ignorance about kidney status and fever can be a dangerous combination. Heat can quickly dehydrate your body, especially if you are exercising. You may not be aware that you are dehydrated. Cleveland Clinic.
Anyone with high blood pressure or diabetes is at risk. Because these are her two main causes of kidney failure. According to the CDC. Other causes of kidney disease include obesity, heart disease, family history, age (>60 years), abnormal kidney size or structure, and long-term use of both prescription and over-the-counter pain relievers. .
The key is to drink plenty of water. Drink 1 cup (8 ounces) of water every 15 to 20 minutes when exercising, working outdoors, or spending time in the heat, according to the CDC.
“This equates to ¾–1 quart (24–32 ounces) per hour.” the agency said. “Do not drink more than 48 ounces (1.5 quarts) per hour. Drinking too much water or other liquids (sports drinks, energy drinks, etc.) can cause your blood to become too salty and cause an emergency.” Drinking in short intervals is more effective than frequent large doses.”
Water is best, as sodas, coffee, and energy drinks can contain sugar and caffeine, according to the CDC. Drinking multiple energy drinks a day can raise your heart rate and put more stress on your body.
Selvam said that when you’re dehydrated and drinking lots of water, make sure you eat foods that can replace electrolytes. Foods high in electrolytes such as phosphate, magnesium, potassium, chloride, calcium and sodium include avocados, bananas, citrus fruits, broccoli, dried apricots, leafy greens, lentils, mushrooms, nuts, sunflower again pumpkin Seeds, spinach, whole grains, zucchini.
pregnancy and fetus
Experts say pregnancy is a dangerous time to overheat, as high temperatures can harm both the mother and the developing fetus.
“Heat exposure is associated with premature birth and fetal growth restriction, or stunting of the baby due to lack of blood flow,” Selvam said. “Cardiac complications in pregnant women also increase, especially in late pregnancy when exposure to significant heat emergencies.”
According to the CDC, pregnant women are more likely to become dehydrated and may not be able to cool themselves through sweating as they try to cool the fetus as well as themselves. Therefore, they may develop heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and other heat-related illnesses earlier than nonpregnant people, the CDC said.
Dehydration is reported to be one of the causes of early labor, called Braxton Hicks. American Heart Association. Dehydration is also more likely to cause dizziness and fainting.
Overheating from hot baths and high temperatures has been reported to be associated with “structural changes in fetal heart and neural tube defects,” which can lead to conditions such as spina bifida. The AHA said on its website:.a 2019 survey With global warming, fetal heart defects are projected to increase between 2025 and 2035, most likely in the Midwest, the study says.
Pregnant people should take the same precautions as everyone else when they become overheated. AHA said: “Move to a cool place, drink some water, loosen your clothes, apply a wet cloth to your skin, and sit in a cool tub of water.”
drugs and mental health
Heat also stresses the brain, affecting the ability to think, plan, pay attention and control impulses, experts say. Fever can make the heart beat faster, lower blood pressure, and impair mental processing. The change may remain even after the body cools down. the study We found that the ability to resolve cognitive conflicts was still impaired.This may explain why often get angry when it’s hot.
“Migraine and allergy medications, other vasoconstrictors, as well as tricyclic antidepressants, phenothiazines, and anticholinergics all reduce sweating, an important means of thermoregulation.” According to U.S. pharmacistsa monthly magazine for pharmacists.
Laxatives and diuretics also promote dehydration. Beta-blockers, used for abnormal heart rhythms, may slow blood flow to the skin, but “stimulants used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and narcolepsy may reduce basal body temperature,” the journal said. increase,” he points out.
Other drugs that increase the risk of heat-related disorders include antipsychotics. Benzodiazepines reduce seizures and relieve anxiety and muscle spasms. A calcium channel blocker used to lower blood pressure. and thyroid medicine.
Considering age, the people most at risk from heat are the elderly, especially those over 70 and young children, Selvam said.
“For elderly patients with significant health concerns, just a few hours in a room above 80 degrees can lead to severe heat stroke, including heat exhaustion and heat stroke,” he said. .
Selvam said the environment may put children at higher risk.
“While adults may spend time inside the office during the day, children are expected to be more physically active and to be outside even when it’s hot,” he said. . “Children may not have a regular drink during class unless the teacher allows it.”
He added that people of all ages who exercise excessively in the heat are at higher risk.
“Even just one hour in an 80-degree environment can be dangerous enough if you’re putting in a lot of effort or if it’s a tough work environment,” he says. “It depends a lot on several factors, not just the temperature.”