How the heat gets to you

April 07, 2018


Now that summer has arrived in all its glory (read: horror), there is nothing you can do but to endure it for the next many months and try to preserve your senses and sanity.

You need to keep yourself fit, mentally and physically, as the next couple of months, till summer vacation starts, are very crucial … and cruel. The monster that is exams is breathing down your sweating neck and you can’t escape it. You can only overpower it, but for that you need to stop yourself from getting overpowered by the heat. Both at home and at school, both indoor and outdoor, you need to make sure that you keep yourself cool and hydrated.

It is best to educate yourself about the effects of a hot environment on your body to be able to keep yourself cool and safe

The summer heat can be very cruel and you can easily get heat exhaustion or heat stroke, sometimes even without going out in the sun! Each year so many people suffer from heat-related issues and some get so serious that it leads to fatalities.

Since you best know what and how you are feeling, it is also best to educate yourself about the effects of a hot environment on your body so that you can recognise the danger signs and do the right thing to keep yourself cool and safe.

When it is too hot, the brain’s ability to “process complex information, make smart decisions and keep your cool during confrontations,” is affected.

Heat also disrupts people’s sleep, which makes them more tired, irritable and stressed, thus totally unfit for studying. Anyone who hasn’t been able to sleep well at night, especially due to heat and load-shedding of electricity, can vouch for the fact that the next morning they went through their school day with a heavy and sleepy head, so they took in very little of what went on in the classes.

Muscle cramps and heat rash are the early signs that the heat is getting to you, and you need to cool yourself down quickly. More severe symptoms can easily follow. As it gets hotter or when you are out in the sun, you start to perspire profusely. Even if you drink water to replace it, you do not get enough electrolytes and the resulting salt imbalance causes muscles cramps. As the situation gets more intense, the brain gets affected and this can lead to confusion and even loss of consciousness.

Perspiration is body’s natural way to cool down because when you sweat, the sweat is dried by air and there is a cooling effect on the body. But it is important to note that fans do not work to prevent overheating in really hot temperatures because the fan simply blows hot air on you and it heats you up rather than cools you down.

These effects of heat extrusion can usually be treated with rest, a cool environment and hydration, including refuelling of electrolytes. Heat stroke, which is more severe and requires immediate medical attention, is often accompanied by dry skin, a body temperature above 103 degrees Fahrenheit, confusion and sometimes unconsciousness.

Published in Dawn, Young World, April 7th, 2018