How Extreme Heat Is Impacting the Mind and Body

Tags: Currents Media, World News

Currents News Staff

It’s a heatwave of massive proportions.

“It’s much cooler out here when you get out early,” said Cordero Shorter, a scooter rider in Philadelphia. “If you wait until about 12 o’clock. You can forget about it.”

As the temperature rises, so do the risk factors. The stifling heat can affect your body and mind.

“The combination of high temperatures and high humidity creates the right condition for a heat emergency,” said Dr. Thomas Waters from Cleveland Clinic.

Two of the most common heat-related conditions are heatstroke and heat exhaustion. With heatstroke, the body can’t cool itself. A person suffering from heatstroke may sweat profusely or not at all. They can become confused or pass out and they can also have a seizure.

Heat exhaustion happens when the body loses too much water or salt through excessive sweating. Symptoms include nausea, dizziness, irritability, thirst, headache and elevated body temperature.

“If somebody notices that in somebody that they’re in the heat with they need to take action right away and seek help,” said Dr. Waters.

Extreme high temperatures can also put significant strain on the heart or make breathing more difficult.

Studies have shown that exposure to extreme heat can also contribute to mental health issues, problems for pregnant women and poor birth outcomes.

To stay safe — stay out of the heat as much as possible.

“You just need to take frequent breaks,” said Dr. Waters. “You need to hydrate and you need to decrease the intensity of your workload or your workout.”