RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — On a day where temperatures will reach triple digits, the most obvious things you can do to stay cool, include drinking lots of water throughout the day and staying inside during the hottest part of the day.
“The body, when it’s in such a hot environment, will try to cool itself down,” Dr. Christopher Chao said, an urgent care physician at WakeMed.
Dr. Chao said your body cools itself down through increasing your heart rate, dilating blood vessels, and sweating, but not everyone’s body is able to regulate heat on its own.
“Those who have chronic health problems like heart disease, those who are elderly, those who are very young they mechanisms for cooling the body aren’t as good,” Dr. Chao said. “If you’re dehydrated and your body starts heating up, you start getting fast heart rate you may start feeling kind of lightheaded you may get headaches you may get muscle cramps.”
Heat cramps are one type of heat-related illness. Your body is telling you that you need to drink water, rest and give your muscles a break. Meanwhile, heat exhaustion is more of a concern for doctors.
“You cool down the patient, hydrate them, support them. You take away the stressors,” Dr. Chao said.
The most serious heat-related illness is heat stroke which requires medical professionals to intervene and bring down your body temperature. Dr. Chao said this can happen when your body temperature reaches 104 degrees Fahrenheit.
“Heat stroke is a medical emergency that is basically when the body can no longer maintain its core temperature…that can kill and can kill very rapidly,” Dr. Chao said.
Finally, Dr. Chao said to be mindful of leaving pets and kids inside a car on a hot day. Temperatures inside the car can rise 20-30 degrees in minutes.