Here in Canada, we tend to talk a little more about the dangers of extreme cold. After all, Canadians aren’t strangers to whiteout road conditions, frostbite, or hypothermia. However, the summer months can bring their own dangers, and that’s only becoming more true as each passing summer is hotter than the last.
Sunburn is likely the best known heat related injury. Sunburns (and tanning as well!) occur when the skin absorbs too much UV light, and the DNA in the cells is permanently damaged. The affected area becomes red, hot to touch, and is often painful. A very bad sunburn can even lead to skin cell death and the added symptoms of blistering and peeling skin. The best way to avoid a sunburn is to check the UV index for the day and make an informed decision about whether to wear sunscreen.
The average person won’t need sunscreen for low UV (0-2), but children, the elderly, and other exceptions will need it. If the UV rating is 6 or higher, it’s recommended to avoid direct sunlight during peak hours (10AM-2PM) even if you are wearing sunscreen. Remember that sunscreen should be reapplied every 2 hours.
Heat Stroke is another common heat related sickness. The opposite of hypothermia, heat stroke is also known as hyperthermia. It occurs when someone is in an environment that’s too hot for their body to effectively continue to regulate temperature. Normal, preferred body temperature is 36-37°C, and heat stroke occurs at 40.2°C. While the term “heat stroke” can be thought of as a misnomer as no blood blockage occurs, the symptoms are actually surprisingly similar. Sufferers may be dizzy, suffer a headache, and be disoriented. In children suffering from heat stroke, seizures are not uncommon. It’s important to remember that young children and the elderly are most at risk for heat stroke. Offer your kids cold fluids frequently to help them keep their internal body temperature low. If someone is suffering from heat stroke, active cooling methods, like taking a cool shower, can help bring the body temperature back to normal.
While the stinging cold of winter is a more obvious danger, the unrelenting heat of summer can also cause a lot of harm. This summer, many provinces have seen heat warnings. Our team at Health Risk hope that everyone can stay cool and safe this summer. If you have any questions about staying healthy or how our great health benefits can let you see the specialists you need, contact Health Risk today!