What Happens To Your Body in an Apocalyptic Heat Wave

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Have you ever stepped outside and instantly felt like you were getting slowly baked to a crisp? You probably have at some point, but the only difference between you and the people in an Iraqi City is that you probably hurried back into your air-conditioned room. Not everyone has that same luxury; they have to actually live with it. Think of what the body must go through to stay alive despite 160-degree temperatures.

Heat waves in America are mild in comparison compared to the heat waves in the Middle East. Due to its location on the globe, it can get desperately hot—apocalyptic even. Iraq and Iran are under what we call a “heat dome” meaning they are completely blanketed by extreme temperatures.

In June, Pakistan went through a similar plight and more than 600 people fell victim to the intense heat, killing them in just three days. Temperatures reached a staggering 113 degrees with an even higher heat index—or the temperature the body feels when humidity is taken into account. In India, more than 230 people died also due to an extreme heat wave.

What happens to the body during an extreme heat wave?

When the body gets too hot or too dry, bad things happen. Heat means sweat because sweat brings down the body’s core temperature. The danger with sweating is with fluid replacement; if you sweat more than you drink, you’re at risk of heat exhaustion, dehydration and even shock. You may feel nauseous and dizzy due to the imbalance of electrolytes in the body as well as the dehydration. This is a sign that the body is entering the danger zone. Heat stroke occurs when you can no longer sweat due to the lack of fluids, and that heat within your body reaches dangerous levels. In short, you cook from the inside out.

How to avoid heat stroke

Officials recommend drinking plenty of water; at least half a gallon or even more depending on the individual’s activity level and fluid balance. Keep cool as much as possible and seek shelter from the hot sun. If humidity is an issue, try to stay in temperature and humidity-controlled areas such as malls and hospitals.

 

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