Europe is amidst the worst heatwave of its history. Temperatures are rising at an unprecedented rate. Glaciers are melting and droughts are all set to cause a food crisis in some parts of the continent. But do we really know how the human body reacts to heatwaves?
Given the hot temperature outsides, it is preferable to stay as much indoors as you possibly can. If it is an urgency like getting to work, then perhaps lookout for a convenient travel medium to use. There is a list of health risks that you can possibly get inflicted with. To start off the list, dehydration is one!
A mild form of dehydration will cause you to feel a lot thirsty and a bit unconscious. It is recommended that you hydrate yourself on an urgent basis, and with proper hydration, your body reacts to heatwaves in by cooling itself down.
However, the situation becomes worrisome when the high temperature can lead you to suffer from heat exhaustion!
Heat Exhaustion: How the body reacts to heatwaves?
In your grade 6 science textbook, you read something on the lines of normal body temperature which is 99.5F. Any deviation from this temperature will cause your body to react in a different way. For example, below 99.5F, you will start shivering as a result increasing your body temperature.
The next part is understanding how the body reacts to heatwaves or temperatures above 99.5F?
First thing you notice is that you are sweating more than usual. As the sweat evaporates, it takes off heat from the body eventually letting your body to cool down. Reasonable to assume then, the greater the temperature rise, the frequent the sweating.
But as sweating is taking with itself excessive heat, it is doing one other thing as well: putting a strain on the human body.
If you are not already aware, there are a whole lot of consequences of greater strain. First, as it is causing the vessels to dilate, the blood pressure drops drastically. The heart is forcing itself to pump faster to ensure all organs throughout the body receive enough oxygen.
To put the discussion into a wider perspective, the higher the temperature, the greater the strain and hence lower the blood pressure. At some point, if the blood pressure drops below what is normally required, then you suffer from heat exhaustion.
You are likely to feel any of the following symptoms or all at the same time.
- Muscle aches and cramps
- Feeling extremely tired and lethargic
- Sweating a lot
Is it dangerous?
From the above discussion, we found out how the body reacts to heatwaves. It can cause heat exhaustion with the above-mentioned symptoms. While looking at the symptoms, you might think of them as no big deal. But little are people aware of the fact that in certain circumstances, heat exhaustion can cause heart attacks.
To worsen the problems, the situation can prove fatal at times. In just UK alone, there are on an estimate 2200 deaths every year due to heat exhaustion. Dwelling in the past will tell us that the infamous heatwave of 2003 caused as many as 72,000 deaths in a single year.
Focusing on the current scenario, the issue may not be very severe so far is still a cause for concern. Hundreds of people across Europe are admitted to hospitals after they were diagnosed with exhaustion.
To conclude, yes, heat exhaustion is more dangerous than people perceive.