Earth recently recorded its hottest day ever – a record experts warn will be broken again and again as temperatures rise further due to the climate crisis.
And it’s happening fast: A new report last month ranked the planet’s warmest June by a “substantial margin,” meaning the nine warmest Junes have occurred in the past nine years.
Extreme hot days – which can be considered the hottest days of the summer – occur more frequently now than in 1970 at 195 locations across the United States, according to the National Institutes of Health. Research Group Climate Central. Of those places, about 71% now face at least seven additional extremely hot days each year.
The effects have been devastating.
In one Texas county, at least 11 people died in just one week during a severe June heat wave. Rising temperatures have killed at least 112 people in Mexico since March. A recent heat wave in India killed at least 44 people in the state of Bihar.
Here’s what happens to your body in extreme heat, what you should watch out for, and how to stay safe.
Normally, your body becomes accustomed to a certain range of temperature, usually between 97 and 99 degrees Fahrenheit. According to Dr., when your brain senses a change – either more or less – it tries to help your body cool down or warm up. Judith Linden, executive vice chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Boston Medical Center and professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Boston University School of Medicine.
“There are many different ways that[the brain]tries to cool down the body. One way, the most common way we think about, is that you sweat,” Linden said. “The pores open, sweat is released from the body, and the sweat evaporates, cooling the body.”
Another way your body cools itself is by dilating vessels and increasing your heart rate, which helps bring heat and blood to the surface of your body and helps release that excess heat.
When you are exposed to high temperatures, it becomes harder for your body to try to keep itself cool. and if your climate is hot And The humidity causes sweat to not evaporate as easily – which raises your body temperature even more Mayo Clinic.
“The higher the humidity, the lower the temperature you need for extreme heat,” Linden said.
High body temperature can damage the brain and other vital organs CDC They say. They can also cause many heat related diseases.
mild heat-related illnesses, including heat cramps, The most common are, Linden said. Heat cramps can develop in people who sweat a lot during exercise. Excessive sweating causes the body to lose all its salt and moisture and can cause muscle pain or cramps, usually in the abdomen, arms or legs. CDC.
A heat rash may also develop. The CDC says it is a skin irritation caused by excessive sweating in hot and humid weather and is most common in young children. It is usually a red cluster of pimples or blisters, and occurs in places including the neck, upper chest or elbow folds.
When your body starts to exceed its ability to cool itself, you can develop what’s called heat exhaustion.
“In this case you are going to sweat profusely because your body will be really trying to cope with that extra heat. You’re going to feel light-headed, you may feel dizzy, often people have nausea, headaches and their skin often looks pale and clammy and their pulse is often rapid,” Linden said.
“It’s the body’s last attempt to cool itself before it really reaches a point of no return.”
heat stroke It is the most serious heat-related illness, and can result in death if left untreated.
“That’s where your body temperature goes up to 104 to 105 degrees or higher, and that’s where your systems start to fail,” Linden said.
According to the CDC, warning signs can include extremely high body temperature, red and dry skin, rapid pulse, headache, dizziness, nausea or loss of consciousness.
The hallmarks of heat stroke are confusion and excitement, Linden said.
“So when someone is in the heat and becomes confused and agitated, that’s heat stroke until proven otherwise and you need to call 911 for that or get help right away and get the person out of the heat.” Gotta take it out.”
The elderly, people with chronic medical conditions as well as children are at a higher risk of serious heat-related illnesses.
The elderly and people with chronic medical conditions may be less likely to feel and respond to temperature changes and may be taking medications that make the effects of heat worse. CDC Said.
“Also very young[people]because they are less likely to recognize heat-related illness and less likely to get out of the heat if they start to feel overheated,” Linden said.
Student-athletes and pets are also at higher risk, he said.
“In this weather, you should never, ever, leave a child or pet unattended in a car, even for one minute,” Linden said.
When your community is experiencing extreme heat, there are many things you can do to keep yourself and others safe.
First, keep an eye out for signs of heat exhaustion or other illnesses.
“If someone starts to feel dizzy, nauseated or has a headache, it’s time to take immediate action,” Linden said. “It means getting them out of the heat and into a cooler environment.”
Pouring water over someone who is experiencing symptoms and giving them fluids can help cool them down. If a person begins to faint or has nausea or vomiting, call 911.
“If you see anyone in any sort of delirium, that’s a sign of immediate danger,” Linden said.
According to Linden, try to avoid outdoor activities when it’s hot outside — especially between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. If you have to go out, wear light-coloured clothes, cover your head and drink plenty of fluids.
Don’t wait until you feel thirsty to drink water – as this can be a sign of dehydration. Linden recommends drinking at least one glass of water — or more — an hour.
“Get out of the heat immediately if you start to feel dizzy, lightheaded, sweaty, have a rapid heartbeat,” Linden said.
try air conditioning in your area, or find places you can go to stay cool ready.gov. Even spending a few hours in a shopping mall or public library can help.
When you’re at home, fans can help, but don’t rely on them as the only way to cool down – although it may feel more comfortable, they won’t help prevent heat-related illness.
“If you are in an extremely hot room, if you have a fan, is it helpful? No. I think, if you have a fan, and you’re able to remember yourself… then fans can be helpful,” Linden said. “Fans are not fools.”
Finally, make sure you’re checking on your neighbors, parents and friends — especially older individuals who may be living alone or in isolation, Linden said.