Thursday, 27 June 2013

Thursday's Random Thought (Surviving Summer Weather)

It seems Mother Nature took note of the fact that June 21st was the first day of summer, at least here in Southern Ontario.  And just in time for out July 1st Canada Day long weekend we have been hit with the typical heat and humidity that accompanies the middle three months of the year.

So, even though this blog is primarily based on trying to encourage a lower number on the scale every week, its also about being healthy.  The Toronto Sun (June 25, 2013) featured two full page articles that contained excellent information on Heat and Humidity.  It seemed worthwhile to share them here.

BEATING THE HEAT ... as much as we enjoy the warmer temperatures we sometimes forget about how difficult it is for our bodies to adapt to that heat.  Heat stroke, also known as sunstroke, happens when the body's mechanisms for controlling temperature fail.

Heat stroke can be a life threatening emergency and requires immediate treatment.  People can feel, faint and weak during heat waves, although most of those people suffer from heat exhaustion, which is a related but less serious condition.

So what are some things we should avoid to prevent heat stroke?

* Working/exercising in hot conditions - sometimes it is impossible to avoid working in the heat but as important it is to keep up exercise routines, maybe in excessive heat a temporary gym membership may be something to consider.
* Not drinking enough fluids - water is important at all times, but especially so in times of extreme heat.

People with the following conditions are especially prone to heat stroke ...

* Alcoholism
* Heart disease
* Obesity
* Older age
* Parkinson's disease
* Uncontrollable diabetes
* Use of certain medications such as diuretics and antihistamines

Another sure sign that summer has arrived is the "humidex" advisories we hear on the nightly weather reports.  "Humidex is a common word  in Canadian weather reports, but what does it really mean?  What is humidity and why is it such a danger to people?

Well, Humidity generally refers to the amount of water vapour in the air.  Relative humidity is the percentage of water vapour in the air compare to the maximum amount the air can actually hold.  When the air is at 100% humidity, it is completely saturated with water vapour and cannot hold any more.  When the air is at 100% humidity, sweat will not evaporate, making us hotter.

What are the dangers of high humidity?

Hyperplexia:  Blood brought to the body's surface cannot dissipate heat, causing more to be sent to skin and less to muscles, brain and other internal organs.

Heat fainting:  Quick drop in blood pressure from too much activity.

Heat exhaustion:  Fluid/salt loss

Heat stroke:  Extreme body temperature rise.


While waiting for paramedics to arrive you can:
* Fan air over patient
* Wet and cool skin with water
* Apply ice packs to armpits, groin, neck and back where blood vessels are close to the skin.

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