It’s Hot Outside!Summertime activities, whether they are work related or for personal pleasure, need to be balanced with methods that aid the body’s cooling mechanisms to prevent heat-related illness, or hyperthermia.
Hot Springs, Ark. – Summertime activities, whether they are work related or for personal pleasure, need to be balanced with methods that aid the body’s cooling mechanisms to prevent heat-related illness, or hyperthermia. Several factors can influence the body’s ability to cool itself during extremely hot weather. For example, high humidity can prevent sweat from evaporating as quickly, inhibiting the body’s ability to release heat. Other factors that may limit a person’s ability to regulate body temperature include age (especially senior adults and children ages 0-4), obesity, heart disease, poor circulation, dehydration, sunburns, prescription drugs and alcohol consumption.
There are several levels of hyperthermia:
- Heat Stress occurs when a strain is placed on the body as a result of hot weather.
- Heat Fatigue is a feeling of weakness brought on by high outdoor temperatures. Symptoms include cool, moist skin and a weakened pulse. A person may also feel faint.
- Heat Syncope is sudden dizziness after exercising in the heat. The skin can appear pale and sweaty but is generally moist and cool. The pulse may be weakened, but the heart rate will be rapid and the body temperature will be normal.
- Heat Cramps are painful muscle spasms in the stomach, arms, and/or legs after a strenuous activity. Your body temperature and pulse will usually stay normal, but your skin may feel moist and cool.
- Heat Exhaustion is a warning that the body is getting too hot. You may feel thirsty, dizzy, weak, uncoordinated, nauseous, and you may sweat a lot. The skin is usually cold and clammy with a normal body temperature and possibly a raised pulse.
- Heat Stroke is life-threatening. Emergency medical treatment is necessary so call 911 immediately. Symptoms include a body temperature over 104°F, confusion, bizarre behavior, fainting, staggering, strong and rapid pulse, dry flushed skin, lack of sweating, and possible delirium. A heatstroke can damage the kidneys, heart, lungs, muscles, liver, intestines, and the brain.
The best defense against hyperthermia is prevention. Here are some useful tips:
- Drink plenty of fluids and stay away from alcoholic and caffeinated beverages because these can cause dehydration. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink something.
- Stay indoors if possible or limit outdoor activities to morning and evening hours when it is cooler.
- Electric fans cannot prevent hyperthermia when the temperature is in the upper 90s or higher. Cool off with a cool shower or by going in to an air-conditioned place.
- When outdoors, try to rest often in shady areas.
- Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothes.
- NEVER leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle.
- Listen to weather reports. If there is a heat-advisory warning, you are at an increased risk for hyperthermia.
Are you interested in joining an existing Extension Homemakers Club? EHC is the largest volunteer organization in the state. For information on EHC call 623-6841 or 922-4703 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’re interested in becoming a Master Gardener and would like more information, you’re welcome to attend their monthly meeting on the 3rd Thursday of each month at 1pm at the Elks Lodge. You may also call the Extension office on 623-6841 or 922-4703 or email email@example.com.
We have several 4-H clubs for our Garland county youth who are 5 to 19 years old.
For more information on all the fun 4-H activities there are, call the Extension Office
at 623-6841 or 922-4703 or email Linda Bates at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution.
By Jessica Vincent
County Extension Agent - FCS
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Media Contact: Jessica Vincent
County Extension Agent - FCS
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
236 Woodbine Hot Springs AR 71901
The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal
access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to
participate or need materials in another format, please contact your County Extension
office (or other appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.
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