The thermometer is climbing over 100 degrees and many are seeking the comfort of air conditioning.


But for those who have to work outdoors or seek outside recreational activities, the heat can cause serious health issues.


The thermometer is climbing over 100 degrees and many are seeking the comfort of air conditioning.

But for those who have to work outdoors or seek outside recreational activities, the heat can cause serious health issues.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment warns that elderly, infants and children and people with chronic medical conditions are more susceptible to heat related issues.

The body cooling mechanisms for these people don’t work as well as for others, said Tom Langer, KDHE bureau director of environmental health.

“It doesn’t take a long time to get rid fluid,” Langer said.

As long as the body is perspiring the cooling mechanism is working but when a person sweats too much they can get heat exhaustion with paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea, vomiting or fainting.

The person needs to cool off immediately with cool non-alcoholic beverages, rest, a cool shower or bath, get to air conditioning and get on lightweight clothing.

With temperatures over the 100-degree mark, the heat impact can happen quickly. Some people spend the day inside in air conditioning then go out in the evening to play ball or take in a round of golf.

They have not kept their fluids up before hand and the heat sneaks up on them. Before they know it they have sweated out their fluid and are in trouble, Langer said. 

“They can be overcome quite quickly,” Langer said. “It can be real sneaky.”

Even people who work outdoors in the heat on a regular basis and are acclimated to the heat have to pay attention to their fluid and food intake or they can get into trouble too.

Some people may leave their children, elderly relative or even pets in the car during cooler times of the year to run into a store to do some quick business but in this extreme heat their bodies can get into trouble very quickly with serious consequences.

“Don’t leave them in the car even for a minute,” Langer said.

If anyone sees someone or a pet left in a car immediately notify law enforcement.

“It’s not sticking your nose into someone’s business it’s being a concerned human being,” Langer said.

Another good neighbor habit is to check on elderly neighbors regularly during high heat events especially if they have no air conditioning. Even if they have air conditioning, if it breaks down or is not cooling properly people can get into serious trouble inside the house.

Extended exposure to high heat can lead to a variety of health issues. Heat rash, sunburn, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke are the order of heat problems in high temperatures.

The best way to combat heat problems is to take a few simple precautions. Stay hydrated with water, sports drinks, drinks with electrolytes but stay away from alcoholic beverages, said Dr. Eric Clarkson, a family physician.

People tend to drink flavored fluids as opposed to plain water. Flavored drinks increase fluid intake 90 percent over plain water. For those concerned about the extra calories in flavored drinks, Clarkson said the body would most likely sweat off the extra calories.

Stay in the shade of buildings or trees as much as possible or take planed shade and fluid breaks, wear a sun hat, wear sunscreen to protect against sunburn that also affects the body’s ability to cool. Wear loose fitting, light colored clothing to increase circulation and reflect the heat, Clarkson said.

When the body is trying to cool down the blood vessels dilate to help the cooling process but that eventually takes sodium out of the system that can lead to a rise in core body temperature and affect the kidneys, the liver and the brain.

Clarkson also cautions women about to deliver that newborns have a hard time with high temperatures so they need to have cooler temperatures.

Kansas Department of Health and Environment descriptions:?
• Heat Rash: Red cluster of pimples or small blisters.   
• Sunburn: Redness, pain abnormally warm.  
• Heat Cramps: Painful spasms usually in the muscles of legs and abdomen.   
• Heat Exhaustion:?Heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea, vomiting and fainting.
• Heat Stroke: High body temperature above 103 degrees F orally, hot dry skin, rapid and strong pulse, throbbing headache, dizziness, nausea, confusion and unconsciousness.
Response for heat stroke
• Summon emergency medical assistance or get the victim to the hospital immediately. Delay can be fatal.
• While waiting for ambulance move victim to cooler environment.
• Reduce body temperature with cool bath or shower.
• Remove clothing, use fan or air conditioners. n Do not give fluids.