The Devastating Effects of Extreme Heat Unveiled by Experts

The Devastating Effects of Extreme Heat Unveiled by Experts

/ 08:14 AM July 11, 2023

Are you feeling the sweltering heat? Brace for more as the Southwestern US is heading for another week of rising temperatures. On Monday, forecasters are extending an extreme heat warning until the weekend.

The most affected areas are Arizona, while other parts also received warning heat alerts, like parts of New Mexico and Nevada. Residents from these areas are advised by the local authorities to stay indoors.

Unfortunately, even the morning times that should be the coolest have historical records of 91 F (32.8 C), which mirrors the warmest low record in 2020. In addition, federal agents along the US-Mexisco order have reported 45 people rescued and 10 more dying due to extreme heat.

With the next consecutive days of rising temperatures, local health experts and forecasters in the Southwest are suggesting that people limit their outdoor exposure and watch out for signs of heat illnesses.

What is the effect of extreme heat?

In the following decades, the US will experience more extensive heat waves and higher temperatures. Experts confirm that heat stroke and heat exhaustion are the common effects of rising temperatures.

Heat stroke is the most severe heat-related illness that might occur when the body loses its ability to sweat. Here are the signs you should watch out for:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle Spasms
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Fainting

Moreover, be aware if your skin feels too hot and your pulse rises. It could mean that your body’s temperature is reaching a high level of 103 F (39 C) or even higher.

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A scientist at the University of New Mexico and an emergency medicine physician, Jon Fleming, said that when the body reaches that level of heat, it tries to compensate by pumping blood to your skin to cool off.

However, the more breathing a person does, the more they can lose fluids, leading to dehydration. Fleming said, “So one of the first things that happens is, your muscles start to feel tired as your body starts to shunt away.”

He added, “And then you can start to have organ damage where your kidneys don’t work, your spleen, your liver. If things get really bad, then you start to not be perfusing your brain the same way.”

How to cope and stay safe in extreme heat

How to cope and stay safe in extreme heat
As the rising temperature shows no sign of lowering sometime soon, it’s crucial to know what to do to alleviate the symptoms of heatstroke. Here’s how:

  • Be aware of your surroundings and watch out for signs of heat stroke, not just for yourself but for any family member or the people around you.
  • Call 911 immediately if you see any signs of fainting, nausea, or dizziness.
  • Try to reduce the body temperature by applying a cool, wet cloth or doing cold baths.
  • Loosen your clothing, stay in a cool place, and drink water.

With heat burnout, your body can be clammy and cold. You may also experience weakness, excessive sweating, dizziness, and muscle cramps.

Moreover, children, older people, and those with health conditions are at a higher risk when the temperatures are rising. Health officials advise to:

  • Stay indoors
  • Look for air-conditioned buildings
  • Drink more water
  • Lessen caffeine and alcohol consumption
  • Eat fewer meals

While fans are on full blast and air conditioners are running 24/7, residents across the region are just hoping for the monsoon season to start sooner. Rain can help to keep the heat at bay.

However, due to the persisting El Niño weather, summer thunderstorms won’t be prevalent this year. Sam Meltzer, the National Weather Service meteorologist, confirmed this. Meltzer said, “It looks like things are going to be abnormally dry over the next couple of months.”

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