Effects of exposure to severe heat waves

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A heat wave is a weather condition in which the temperatures are abnormally high for an extended period of time, usually spanning for a few days to a week or even more. In most cases, a heat advisory is issued once the temperature exceeds the tolerable range for aged individuals or those with diseases. Once the heat is expected to be accompanied by humidity, a heat warning is issued. With this in mind, it is important to take precautionary measures once a heat wave has been announced.


Sunstroke or heatstroke is considered as a life-threatening condition. The symptoms include spasms, cramps and nausea which indicate that the thermostat of the body is not working anymore. The body temperature can increase at a high rate, resulting to brain damage and death can occur within 10 minutes if emergency care is not provided right away.

Always bear in mind that sunstroke can likely occur among the elderly and young children once the temperatures reach up to 130 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.


Heat wave
The symptoms of heat exhaustion include weakness, heavy sweating, and clammy skin, weak pulse rate, fainting and vomiting.

If the humidity level is low, the common response of the body to a heat wave is dehydration. An individual can lose up to half a gallon of water every 10 minutes once exposed to direct sunlight under temperatures of 90 degrees and higher. Dehydration can occur slowly where the possible complications are not obvious until it is already too late. Those who live in urban areas are at high risk due to the stationary atmospheric conditions that can trap pollutants present in the air. Once these pollutants are inhaled, it can trigger respiratory problems.  Young children, the elderly and those who are sick are at high risk for dehydration.


During a heat wave, death can occur especially among those with heart problems or the health condition is weakened or compromised by certain diseases. In most cases, the heat includes humidity and will wear down the body beyond its tolerance point. In most cases, an individual dies due to the pressure the heat imposes on the body.

Heat exhaustion

Always remember that overexposure to extreme heat has been one of the common causes of heat exhaustion which is dangerous for young children and the elderly. It is important to note that heat exhaustion is comparable to a mild shock. The symptoms include weakness, heavy sweating, and clammy skin, weak pulse rate, fainting and vomiting. The condition typically occurs among individuals who are working or exercising in warm, humid temperatures. If heat exhaustion is not treated right away, it can worsen where the body temperature will continue to increase and eventually progress to heatstroke. Once the initial signs of heat distress are suspected, it is important to provide the appropriate care measures in order to prevent the condition from worsening.

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