10 basic little-known facts about the dangers of heat and sweat and your health

Do you suffer from a heat or a heat-related illness, are you already showing the signs? Read this list to learn how to behave. Whatever the weather conditions, the body works hard to maintain a normal temperature of 37 degrees. When the temperatures are extreme, whether it’s a hot summer day or a very cold winter morning, it can be difficult for your body to maintain the ideal temperature.

Even at rest, the human body produces a lot of heat energy. When it’s cold, your body expels this heat with radiation. Heat is simply radiated from the body to the surrounding air. When it’s hot, your body sweats to keep you cool. Sweat rises to the surface of your skin. When it evaporates, you start to feel cool. When the weather is humid, the sweat on the surface of the skin is difficult to evaporate, because the air is already saturated with moisture. This is why people often say it’s not the heat but the humidity that makes going out on a hot day unbearable. Although both play a role in raising your body temperature.

In other cases, sweating can occur without any external stimulus. Knowing if you’re at higher than usual risk of heat-related illness, as well as the cause of your symptoms, can help you figure out what action to take.

This list of quick facts is a good place to start.

1. Extreme heat is dangerous and sometimes fatal

Older adults, young children, and people with mental illnesses and chronic illnesses such as heart disease are most at risk, as are athletes and people who work outdoors.

2. Men sweat more than women

Although women have more sweat glands than men, men’s sweat glands are more active, causing them to sweat more than women. The more you sweat, the easier it is for you to become dehydrated, which can lead to other health problems.

3. You have up to 4 million sweat glands in your body.

There are two types of sweat glands: apocrine and endocrine glands. Both produce fluids. An area of ​​the brain called the hypothalamus controls body temperature by regulating sweat secretion and blood flow to the skin. The odor associated with perspiration comes from the apocrine glands located in the armpits and genital area. Sweat from these glands produces an odor when it comes into contact with bacteria on the skin.

4. Heat exhaustion occurs when your body overheats itself.

Warning signs of heat stress are: dizziness, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, profuse sweating and headache. To treat heat exhaustion, go somewhere cool, drink plenty of water, and soak in a cool bath or use cold compresses.

5. High temperature can lead to heat stroke, a life-threatening condition

Heatstroke can occur when the body temperature reaches at least 40 degrees. At this point, your body loses the ability to regulate temperature on its own. Signs of heat stroke include muscle cramps, rapid heartbeat, vomiting, flushing, headache, mental confusion, and seizures. Call 911 if you see anyone showing these symptoms. As with heat exhaustion, the person with heatstroke should be moved to a cooler location and given a cool bath or compresses.

6. You can protect yourself from heat stroke by staying hydrated.

Drink before you feel thirsty. In extreme temperatures, it is best to avoid caffeine and alcohol. Wear loose-fitting clothing that allows air to circulate around you while you exercise, and avoid outdoor exercise during the hottest part of the day, which is often between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Instead, schedule your exercise session as close to sunrise or sunset as possible.

7. Infants and young children are highly susceptible to heat-related illnesses.

This is true for several reasons. They can’t control their environment (if left in a warm room, for example), and they have a high metabolic rate, which means their bodies are constantly producing heat. They are also unable to sweat like adults. Never leave a child in a parked car, even if the windows are open.

8. Certain groups of adults are highly susceptible to disease from extreme heat.

These include the obese, the elderly, and the non-motor. Diabetics can also be sensitive to heat. If you have diabetes and are dehydrated by the heat, this can affect your blood sugar levels. Make sure to store insulin and other diabetes medications away from heat, as high temperatures can damage them. People with multiple sclerosis may find that their symptoms get worse when they are hot. When heat raises body temperature, it becomes difficult for the central nervous system to function properly.

9. Certain medications can put you at risk of heat stroke

These include certain types of allergy medications, antihistamines, blood pressure medications, heart medications, diuretics, laxatives, antidepressants, and epilepsy medications. Talk to your doctor about precautions to take if you are taking any of these medications.

10. About 3% of the population suffers from a health condition that leads to excessive sweating.

This condition is called hyperhidrosis, and it is characterized by an overactive sweat gland, which leads to profuse sweating. This health condition can be hereditary or caused by other health conditions or medications, and it can occur without being triggered by heat. Treatments for hyperhidrosis include oral and topical medications.

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