Prevent Heatwave Impacts our Health

Monday, July 1, 2019 - 10:43

Many people all across the world have been experiencing the hottest June so each countries’ national weather authorities have issued heat warnings, advising people take precautions.

According to Owen Landeg, a principal environmental public health scientist at Public Health England, many people will suffer minor and temporary ill-effects, along the lines of nausea, dizziness and fatigue, after exposure to high temperatures, CNN reports.

The serious ill-effects of the heat includes heat exhaustion, which happens when you become very hot and your body loses water or salt. Symptoms include headaches, weakness, muscle cramps and feeling faint or sick. Heat exhaustion could lead to heatstroke, a much more serious condition, according to Public Health England.

Antony Young, emeritus professor of experimental photobiology at King's College London, warns that most of the damage caused by ultraviolet radiation is not visible to the naked eye. Skin cancer is a delayed effect, with the condition possibly taking 20 years to appear, according to Young.

"Because we don't repair all the damage, we get changes essentially to our DNA in the skin that are the precursors of skin cancer," Young said. "Virtually all skin cancers are caused by exposure to sunlight."

People with chronic illnesses, such as heart disease or mental illness, are also more vulnerable during heatwaves, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It is important to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids. But, don't load up on sugary drinks as this would make you lose more body fluid. Do not be tempted to gulp down cold water as that could cause stomach cramps, according to the CDC.

Apply sunscreen on exposed skin and wear light clothing that will reflect heat away from you. Make sure to enjoy the warm weather in a cool space and exercise outdoors during the cooler parts of the day -- morning or evening time.

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