how to prevent its health effects

Summer is here, the sun is shining and thermometers are above 30 or even 40 in many parts of the country. Many people spend months waiting for that moment to arrive, but when it does, they end up suffering the consequences of high temperatures. In this sense, there are three levels of risk depending on the maximum expected temperatures, distinguishing between normality when temperatures are not higher than 36.5, a precautionary situation (Type 1 alert) when the maximum temperature forecast for that day or one of the following four is greater than 36.5 and a high risk situation (Alert Type 2) when the maximum temperature forecast for that day or one of the following four is greater than 38.5.

The latter situation responds to the dreaded “heat waves”, episodes of extremely high temperatures that can have effects on the health of the population, especially the most sensitive:

children under one year of age because their bodies have not yet acquired sufficient dexterity to regulate their temperature, obese or malnourished children, or those with fever or diarrhea, people with heart disease , chronic renal or neurological, the elderly, people with badly burned skin or after alcohol or drug use.

“These situations can lead in some cases to have more serious consequences such as heat exhaustion or heat stroke, the popular ‘heat stroke’, become fatal or leave significant sequelae” explains Dr. Alvar Ocano, medical director Aegon “In heatstroke, the body is not able to control the temperature and we can pass out, so an immediate measure is to go to the emergency room.” concludes.

The most serious risk is heat stroke, but there are other situations of exhaustion due to high temperatures and / or the onset of cramps that also require rehydration care. Profuse sweating accompanied by a feeling of weakness or dizziness, and even muscle cramps, headache, nausea, etc., should stop all activity, drink fluids and cool the body.

To make these heat episodes more bearable and less harmful to health, Aegon’s experts give us their recommendations to prevent the effects of heat.

Drink water before you feel thirsty:

Perhaps the most important advice in these kinds of situations is to drink frequently. Continuous hydration, even if you are not thirsty, is essential to maintain the balance between our body and our brain. These drinks should never be too cold, it is always best to drink them at room temperature and the ideal would be to ingest an amount of more than 2 liters of liquids per day. Also, not to abuse alcoholic drinks, with a lot of caffeine or very sweet is essential, because they can cause an excessive loss of body fluid.

Alcohol is a vasodilator that causes body heat to rise to the skin’s surface, causing it to feel more hot than it actually does.

Eating light meals and avoiding large, hot meals go a long way in replacing mineral salts lost through sweating. Foods such as vegetables, salads and gazpachos, as well as summer fruits such as melon and watermelon are highly recommended due to their high water and mineral content. More traditional foods like ham also provide a precious dose of salt that we lose through sweat.

Avoid solar radiation:

Protecting yourself from the sun and avoiding going out during the hottest hours of the day is very important. At home, try to open the windows for air before 8:30 a.m. and after that time darkening the room with blinds or curtains to block out the sun will be the best option.

Outside, it is advisable to protect yourself from the sun and to avoid going out during the hottest hours of the day, between 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. In the case of outdoor sports, this band increases more, being ideal to avoid the hours between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.

In addition, in summer and other periods of strong solar radiation, it is important to be very careful with sun exposure to avoid its harmful effects such as premature aging of the skin, burns, heatstroke, sun spots, cancerous lesions and cataracts.

Regulation of body temperature:

Wear breathable, loose-fitting and light clothing in light colors to help regulate body temperature, as well as linen and cotton clothing that brings greater freshness.

In addition to the clothes you wear, short, hot showers before bed can help. Cold water rags are also highly recommended, applying them to the most sensitive parts of the body before going to sleep. Another good option is to wet the back of your neck and sleep with your hair a little damp, to have that feeling of freshness that will make you sleep more serenely.

In young children, they should be bathed and their bodies soaked frequently.

Finally, it should be noted that in the event of possible signs of problems in our body derived from heat, it is advisable to get away from the sun, drink water and drink something salty. If the situation does not improve within 30 minutes, it is necessary to consult a health professional.

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