Hot Takes On Heat Stress

The health departments in Minnesota and Wisconsin put their collective Gopher and Cheese heads together and discovered a surprise.  This isn’t your grandfather’s heat stress.

In the micropolitan lakes area, we don’t get a ton of really hot weather.  But when we do, sometimes a body can freak out.
Or, as epidemiologists put it, sometimes a body can get heat exhaustion, heat cramps, and heat stroke. The smart money says folks over 84 and under 4 are most likely to be affected, right?  Try again, Jeopardy! James.

A fresh look at the numbers shows the populations most affected by heat-related illnesses are teenagers and young adults.
What??  That’s right, Alex.  Teens and young adults are often outside playing sports or working hard for the money, so hard for it honey.
It stands to reason that they would be ripe pickings for heat-related freak-outs.
Other cold, hard hot facts:
  • Men are about twice as likely to visit the emergency department for heat-related illness as women.
  • Counties with a higher heat index generally had more cases of heat-related illness.
  • Counties in rural areas had heat-related illness rates significantly higher than counties in more metropolitan areas.
Some symptoms of heat exhaustion include moist, cool skin with goosebumps when it’s hot outside.  Feeling faint and dizzy.  Exhibiting a weak, rapid pulse. To avoid HRFO’s, here are some thoughts from the health pros:
  • Avoid the hottest part of the day. If you have to be outside, stick to the cooler morning and evening hours. Wear light, loose clothing and take frequent, air-conditioned breaks.
  • Beware of hot cars.  Never leave a person or a pet in a parked car even for a short time.  On an 80 degree day, the temperature inside a car can reach 100 degrees in less than 10 minutes.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water on hot days.  Avoid alcohol and hot, heavy meals.
  • Stay informed. Watch your local weather forecasts so you can plan outdoor activities safely. Pay attention to any extreme heat alerts.
Be smart in the heat.

Johnny, Alex, and your grandfather thank you.


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