June will prove to be one of the hottest on record. Our bodies cool themselves with perspiration that evaporates, removing heat. Texans around here know that high humidity doesn’t allow that to happen, making matters worse. Many medications also increase susceptibility. Every year about six hundred people die of heat related illness.
Signs and symptoms: Leg cramps, nausea, weakness, and headaches are common early signs. In severe cases, vomiting and mental confusion develop. Rapid breathing and the disappearance of sweating occur when the body begins to shut down completely.
What to do: Avoid physical activity in the heat of the day. If you have to be out, make sure you’re not alone. Drink water early and often. You can replace salt with sports drinks, but they can be harmful to other conditions, so discuss with your doctor. Know the risks associated with your medications. A simple fan can increase air movement over the skin to help with natural cooling.
Thought for the day: Use common sense and maintain hydration. Heat and humidity are a bad combination.
What’s Going Around is contributed by family practice doctor Kyle Scarborough, M.D. You can reach him at email@example.com.