نشر يوم 08. July 2021

Stay cool! How the body copes with high summer

Summer, sun, boiling point. The cardiovascular system reacts immediately to extreme temperatures. Children who do not drink enough and older people weakened by the heat are particularly affected by the heat. Patients with cardiovascular problems, oncological diseases and respiratory problems also suffer from midsummer weather conditions.

The heart has to work harder in the heat

Prof. Dr. Dietlind Zohlnhöfer-Momm, Chief Physician for Internal Medicine, Cardiology, Intensive Care Medicine and Geriatrics at Vivantes: 

"In the heat, the heart has to work harder than usual, which is normally not a problem for healthy people: more sweat is produced and the blood supply to the skin is increased. However, this endogenous cooling system cannot compensate so well for great heat in people with heart disease. At extreme temperatures of more than 30 degrees, there is a risk of heat accumulation or heat stroke. In heat stroke, the circulatory system collapses, and this can be life-threatening.

Heart patients should be more likely to go outside in the cooler morning or evening hours and wear airy clothing if possible. It is also important to drink enough, about one to two liters more than usual in hot weather. If you often feel "black in the face" when you get up on a hot day, you may have low blood pressure. Antihypertensive medications can exacerbate this, so after consulting with your primary care physician, it may be a good idea to temporarily take less of these medications."

What to do about heat?

At temperatures around 30 degrees Celsius it is important to drink a lot, but it is of no use to almost blast the cells with water if the body's salt balance is too low in the process. Therefore, when buying mineral water, it is advisable to read the label carefully and pay attention to a high sodium content. Even a non-alcoholic wheat beer provides the body with protein, minerals and trace elements.

To avoid heat stroke, airy clothing should also be worn, because tight clothing makes it harder for the body to dissipate heat. A fan also helps to dissipate heat.

To prevent sunstroke, a sun hat or other headgear is a good idea.

Neonates do not sweat

Prof. Dr. Hermann Josef Girschick, Chief Physician of the Clinic for Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Vivantes Klinikum im Friedrichshain:

"Babies sweat much less than older children or adults; nenates even lack this "cooling function" altogether. One can remember: The smaller the child, the longer its body needs to adapt to extreme temperatures. Children are particularly at risk in cars in the blazing summer sun, where temperatures can sometimes rise to more than 60 degrees Celsius. Babies do not belong in direct sunlight at all. If a child is sweating or the baby's neck feels too warm, parents should move him or her to a cooler place. Taking body temperature can be helpful.

When outside temperatures are high, 30 degrees Celsius or more, parents should give the baby plenty to drink, preferably water and juice spritzers, or he or she may become dehydrated more quickly than an adult. Babies should then be breastfed or given a bottle more often. One problem, of course, is that young children and babies can't tell us when they are having circulation problems or headaches. A warning sign of too little fluid in the child's body is, for example, little and yellowish urine or dry diapers.

However, heat stroke/insolation is not just an infant problem. Children of all ages should make sure they get enough shade and drink plenty of fluids during the now very warm season. If possible, extensive sports activities in the blazing sun should be avoided. Headaches and nausea can be early symptoms of overheating."

 
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