The first week of 2014 has been an absolute scorcher here in Queensland, and with almost two months worth of summer still ahead of us, the hot weather won’t be going away anytime soon.
It’s important during this time of the year to take your health into consideration. Prolonged exposure to extreme heat and humidity can have a wide range of negative effects on your physical well being. In today’s article, we’re going to look at how the summer months can impact on your health.
One of the most common ways in which the heat can impact on our health (besides sunburn and dehydration) is heat exhaustion. Heat exhaustion typically occurs when we’ve spent a little too much time in the sun (or in a humid area). The typical indicators of heat exhaustion are tiredness, dehydration and some slight dizziness.
Heat stroke is the far more serious and threatening health risk that comes with heat exposure. If you believe you’re suffering from heat exhaustion, then it’s important to address the issue then. That’s because exhaustion can typically be treated by rehydrating, drinking electrolyte-rich drinks, staying in a cool place and resting.
Failing to address to heat exhaustion, however, is often what allows the risk of heat stroke to increase. Initial signs of an impending heat stroke include a core temperature of approximately 39.45 degrees celsius and excessive perspiration. As the condition worsens, you’ll find your body will no longer be able to perspire, which often leads to the increase in your core temperature. Severe dizziness and mental confusion are some of the final signs before you’ll go unconscious.
Much like heat exhaustion, the way to prevent a heat stroke is to rehydrate (focusing on electrolytes), rest and remain in a cool environment such as an air conditioned room or truck cabin.
One of the key contributors to heat exhaustion and heat strokes is when the heat and humidity refuses to die down. Extreme heat is problematic in itself, but intense humidity worsens the situation. Our ability to perspire only presents a benefit if our sweat can dry out and cool out or skin. When there are high humidity levels, it essentially prevents our sweat from ever drying out, meaning we can’t naturally cool our own bodies down.
The other issue that a mixture of extreme heat and humidity creates is that the hot conditions can become almost relentless, even once the sun goes down. The humidity keeps the heat of the day alive at night, meaning we have less of a chance of a proper reprieve. If our bodies can’t find someplace cold to recover at least some point during the day, this is where heat exhaustion can worsen and lead to a heat stroke.
The two key solutions you need to account for is dropping your core temperature and remaining hydrated. Hydration will prevent you from suffering from headaches and will also ensure your body can continue to perspire, thus keeping your core temperature more stable.
The other factor is controlling the heat around you. Whether you do this by using fans, jumping in the pool or turning on air conditioning, you need to be able to counteract the severe heat you’re otherwise surrounded by. Of course, if you’re a truck driver doing long runs, then you’ll want to ensure your sleeper cabin – and truck in general – is air conditioned.
What’s most important is that you believe you’ve got ‘a touch of the heat’, you need to hydrate and get out of the heat. At the end of the day, your health is what matters. So if you feel dizzy, dehydrated or exhausted, just stop and recover.
If you’d like to find out more about our truck, cabin and heavy machinery air conditioning solutions, give Brisk Air a call on (07) 3277 0980.