Tips to protect yourself from heat stroke and heat exhaustion – Nutrition and Health

By the weekend, values ​​will break the 30 degree mark in many places. These high temperatures are particularly difficult for the elderly, children and people with cardiovascular diseases.

Temperatures are rising in Germany. Some advices:

How does the body react to heat?

Try to lower your body temperature by increasing sweat production. Fluids, minerals and trace elements are lost through intense sweating. The blood vessels in the skin also dilate to ensure cooling. This lowers blood pressure and weakens circulation. When it’s very hot, this can cause the brain to no longer receive enough oxygen, leading to dizziness, headaches, fatigue, and trouble concentrating.

Who suffers more?
People whose circulation isn’t very stable are at particular risk from heat anyway, such as the chronically ill, the overweight, and the elderly. Babies and young children are not yet able to sweat enough and therefore need special protection. According to an earlier AOK study, between 2008 and 2018 there were 3 percent more hospital admissions among people 65 and older on hot days.

While a healthy heart can easily cope with the added stress of heat, a diseased heart reaches the limits of its capacity more quickly. Extreme heat may also require a change in the dose of some cardiovascular medications.

However, some experts recommend that people with weak veins wear support stockings, especially on hot days, so that blood does not sink into the legs due to dilated vessels and cause additional circulatory problems.

What amounts of drink are recommended?
In general, you should drink between two and a half and three liters throughout the day. Mineral water, chilled herbal and fruit teas, or diluted fruit and vegetable juices are ideal for quenching thirst. As a rule, they contain enough minerals to replace the sweated salts. High-sugar sodas, on the other hand, cause even more thirst.

Be careful with frozen drinks: they can upset your stomach. Also, the body has to work harder to heat the liquid to body temperature. It is better to avoid alcohol. It dilates the vessels, which puts even more pressure on the heart.

What should you pay attention to when eating?
When it comes to eating, the following applies: No heavy, fatty meals, rather several small, light meals with plenty of fruit and vegetables.

What else gives relief?
It’s a good idea to wash your hands, neck, and face with cold water from time to time. If you also raise your legs for a few minutes from time to time, you relieve the pressure on your vessels and prevent your legs and feet from swelling.

Is exercise recommended?
Not all sports activity is harmful to health. However, if possible, prolonged physical exertion should not be located in the midday and evening hours. That’s when the stress is greatest. However, the elderly, children and people with circulatory problems should not exercise in hot weather.

What sun protection factor protects better?
This mainly depends on skin type, but at least a sun protection factor of 15 is recommended. For children there is a factor of 50 or more. The product must be applied at least half an hour before going out in the sun and renewed periodically. In general, midday sun should be avoided between 11:00 and 15:00. If possible, children should not be exposed to direct sunlight.

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