Heat-Related Illnesses Becoming Increasingly Common in Southern States


According to the Centers for Disease Control, heat-related illnesses are becoming increasingly common in the southern states and are one of the leading weather-related causes of death throughout the nation. Also referred to as “hyperthermia”, heat-related illnesses develop in response to exposure to extreme levels of heat and the body’s inability to properly respond to the heat.

In turn, the body fails to cool itself down and there is a quick and highly dangerous increase in body temperature. In order for the body to remove heat quickly, it must sweat. Unfortunately, the high levels of humidity in the southern states slows down this process. As a result, the heat remains in the body.

In order to overcome heat-related illnesses, fluids must be replaced quickly and the core body temperature must be cooled. This will reduce further complications – including death – from occurring.

Heat Exhaustion

One of the most common forms of heat-related illnesses in the southern states is heat exhaustion; however, it is also one of the most serious. The symptoms of this issue include:

  • Cramping of the Muscles
  • High Levels of Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting

Those with this heat-related illness may feel cool to the touch, but the pulse is often weak, yet fast. Breathing may be shallow with rapid breaths. If heat exhaustion is suspected, medical care should be sought immediately.

Heat Stroke

Individuals that develop heat exhaustion and do not have it treated may develop heat stroke. This is an extremely serious condition that could result in rapid death. The symptoms include the following:

  • Body Temperature Higher Than 103°F
  • Skin That is Red and Hot
  • Dry Skin and No Sweating
  • Strong Pulse That is Very Fast
  • Immense Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Unconsciousness

The high body temperature associated with heat stroke has the potential to damage organs, such as the brain and the kidneys. In fact, it could lead to the failure of multiple organs within the body. Eventually, if not treated, the individual suffering from heat stroke will die.

Those at Highest Risk

Individuals that are highest risk for heat-related illnesses include infants and children, those that are overweight, those with existing medical conditions, the elderly, and those that are isolated and lack proper climate control products, such as air conditioning.

If young, healthy individuals engage in strenuous activities in the heat, consume alcohol in hot conditions, and take medicines that hamper the body’s ability to cool itself or perspire, they are also at risk for heat-related illnesses.

The Number One Protection

According to studies, the top protection for avoiding heat-related illnesses in the southern states is air conditioning. If the home is not properly equipped with an air-conditioner, the susceptible should be taken to an area where there is air conditioning; otherwise, the heat could not only make them sick, but, it could result in death.

We here at Ronald Smith Heating & Air strive to help all that require air conditioning obtain that which they need to stay cool in the south. We offer many services, resources, and finances to keep everyone cool when things heat up. Simply contact us today for more information: https://ronaldsmithhvac.com/schedule/

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