Summer heat is often a welcome reprieve from the winter chill. An icy, cold world has given way to greenery and sunshine — it is almost as if life has returned to the world. Especially if you live in a climate with extreme winters, the warmer weather of summer can be an exciting time. Unfortunately, those balmy summer days can be just as dangerous to your health as being trapped out in the cold. As people make their way outside to sunbathe, visit the park, take a stroll, or participate in a number of summer activities, it is important to be aware of the risks that summer heat can pose to your health. Even the healthiest people are susceptible to adverse effects from summer heat, but certain demographic groups are at an even higher risk.
Groups At Risk
Even the healthiest, most-physically fit human specimens are susceptible to negative effects from heat exposure. Did you know people can experience hyperthermia from heat as well as hypothermia from cold? In extreme temperatures of 140 degrees Fahrenheit or more, a human body will only last about ten minutes. While someone is unlikely to encounter this type of heat on a regular basis, lesser temperatures can still be extremely risky. While everyone is affected by warmer temperatures, certain groups are even more at risk.
- The elderly – as we age, our bodies are less able to effectively handle heat regulation. Health issues and medications could also increase heat sensitivity
- Small children – the developing bodies of young children are also more sensitive to the effects of heat. It is important to keep children inside during extreme heat situations.
- Chronically-ill – chronic health issues could cause an increased sensitivity to the negative effects of heat. Medications could also increase susceptibility to heat.
Negative effects from heat can manifest in a number of ways. Keep in mind, the temperature doesn’t have to be especially high for people to experience these effects. The groups previously mentioned above will succumb to these effects quicker as well, so it is important to keep an eye on at-risk groups and mediate exposure to heat as much as possible. If you or someone around you experiences any of these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.
- Dehydration – as your body perspires, you lose moisture. Even if you are not sweating profusely, your body can still become extremely dehydrated from heat. Always drink plenty of water.
- Heat stroke – heat stroke is very serious, and can be life-threatening. Some signs of heat stroke include confusion, fast pulse, rapid breathing, and a lack of sweating. Call 9-1-1 immediately if you or someone else experiences these symptoms.
- Skin cancer – while not as immediately apparent as the first two points, skin cancer is still a very-present risk from heat and sun exposure. Always use sunscreen and stay out of direct sunlight.
In addition to posing a risk to your human health, the summer heat can also be a dangerous time for your home’s heat exchanger. The summer heat is a prime time for issues to develop with your heat exchanger, especially when your furnace is sitting idle. Before you turn it back on again this fall make sure your exchanger hasn’t rusted or cracked, schedule a heat exchanger repair if necessary, and always make sure your repairs are conducted by someone trained by the Heat Exchanger Experts, Inc.