As the weather heats up and the thermometer soars, prolonged or intense exposure to hot temperatures may cause heat stress, also known as heat-related illness.
All of us can be affected by heat-related illness. However, the elderly, young children, people with disability, and those taking medications for mental health conditions may be especially vulnerable.
Heat stress occurs when the body is unable to cool itself adequately.
- Some disabilities make it hard to regulate body temperature.
- Babies and older people don’t sweat as much as younger adults, which hinders the body’s heat regulation mechanisms.
- Certain medications can interfere with the body’s ability to stay hydrated and cool itself.
When the body can’t cool down efficiently problems may occur, such as heat rash, heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. These heat-related illnesses are all different so it’s important to recognise the symptoms of each and employ the most effective treatment.