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Hot Temperatures, High Humidity Could Be Fatal Mix

By: Kristen Ross Email
By: Kristen Ross Email

In the wake of all the recent rainfall, humidity levels will remain high. That, coupled with high temperatures, can be a harmful mix to your health.

As summer temperatures rise, so does the need to take precautions against the heat. As humidity increases, the function of the body's natural cooler is reduced.

"The way we cool off is by sweating and having sweat evaporate, and it carries the heat with it," Dr. Rachel Bramson with the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine said."The problem with high humidity is you cannot have evaporation of the sweat as easily as you can when there's low humidity."

Doctors say people of all ages are susceptible to become ill from the sun's heat.

"If you're having problems feeling nauseated, very tired, very weak, muscle cramps, if you're not sweating, that's worrisome," Bramson said.

Two heat-related illnesses in particular, heat exhaustion and heat stroke, can do more than just ruin summer activities.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion can include dizziness, headache, fast heartbeat, vomiting, and feeling worried. Left untreated, heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke.

In addition to symptoms experienced for heat exhaustion, symptoms of heat stroke can also include fever, confusion, seizures, and can even be fatal.

"In the case of heat stroke, that's a medical emergency and you need to proceed to medical care immediately," Bramson said.

Experts say the sunshine doesn't have to burn up your summer fun. However, doctors advise taking some precautions before heading outdoors:

-Dress in lightweight, light-colored, loosely fitted clothing.

-Drink fluids every 15 -20 minutes while outdoors.

-Schedule vigorous outdoor activities before 10am or after 6pm.

-Stay in the shade as much as possible.

Officials say if you do experience a bout with the heat, give yourself some time before heading back into the sun.

"You're more vulnerable to a heat-related injury in the week following exposure," Bramson said. "It's important if you become ill from the heat that you really take it easy the next week and allow your body to recover."


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