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The right reflexes in the event of a heatwave

Educational capsules / Published on 22 / 07 / 2022

Headaches, dizziness, nausea, weakness, exhaustion, rash, muscle cramps, rapid breathing, profuse sweating: these are some of the symptoms that can be felt during intense heat waves. Unfortunately, heat can kill...The most vulnerable people are the elderly, infants, young children and the sick. In the event of heatstroke(sunstroke), dial 911 immediately: it is a MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

GOOD TO KNOW

  • Body temperature is normally between 36.5 and 37.5°C. It can vary by around 1°C over a 24-hour period, with the minimum being in the early morning and the maximum in the late afternoon or early evening.
  • Survival seems impossible at a body temperature above 43°C.
  • Body mass is 45-75% water, depending on age, sex, and the amount of body fat.
  • Body water comes from ingested food and fluids as well as cellular metabolism.
  • Our body loses water through the lungs, skin, digestive tract and kidneys.
  • Hypovolemic shock is a serious consequence of dehydration

Let's now see the actions to adopt in the event of oppressive heat episodes:

1. Drink more water

Don't wait until you feel thirsty because that's a sign that your body is already dehydrated. The idea is not to drink 2L of water in one go but rather to hydrate yourself more often throughout the day. If you don't like to drink the water because you find its taste flat and bland, you can flavor it with favorite fruits and/or veggies. You can also "eat" your water and refresh yourself at the same time by consuming cold soups, meal salads or even fruit salads.

2. Refresh your home

Turn on your air conditioner or fan to be more comfortable. If you watch your spending, please be reasonable. Don't let the heat torture you for that. I know that you know that you can cut other expenses! If you are not equipped at home, that's a whole other story…To feel the heat less, close your windows; draw your curtains or lower your shutters. Avoid using appliances that generate heat such as ovens, dryers, etc. Feel free to go refresh yourself in places open to public such as malls, libraries, etc.

3. Stay cool and safe

Unless you have to, don't go out. If you have to, wear your hat or cap, wear your sunglasses and apply your sunscreen(even if you're dark skinned, your skin also need to be protected from the sun). Wear light clothing(cotton or linen), loose and light-coloured. Walk in the shade as much as possible. If you have a car, consider buying sunshades for your windows. If you work outside, you need to take more breaks than normal, sheltered from the sun of course!

4. Adapt your physical activity sessions

If you're a fan of outdoor training, train early in the morning or after sunset for more comfort. For the same reasons, do all the gardening, DIY, housework and stuffs like that early in the morning. If you don't have air conditioning and you train at home, reduce the intensity or duration of your workout. Don't forget to drink before, during and after your physical activity.

5. Do activities according to the weather

This is the perfect time to go visit caves, caverns or museums. This may be the only time you'll enjoy taking cold showers or cold baths, so don't be shy! Go swim in the pool with your children or let them have fun with the water jets.

References
Human anatomy and physiology, Elaine N. Marieb, Katja Hoehn

Heat and HumidityCanadian Lung Association