excessive heat

How can excessive heat affect you and your body?

Kaycee Valmonte

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How can excessive heat affect you and your body?

Pedestrians cover their heads as they experience a 40 degress celsius heat index in Manila, on April 2, 2024.


Temperatures continue to be at dangerous levels, and PAGASA says it may even get hotter in May

MANILA, Philippines – The dry season is upon us, and the sweltering heat isn’t going anywhere soon.

According to state weather bureau PAGASA, the highest heat index recorded so far was 53°C on April 28 in Zambales’ Iba town. Temperatures continue to be at dangerous levels or around 42°C to 51°C, and PAGASA said it may even get hotter in May.

The Department of Health (DOH) has already warned Filipinos to take precautions to keep themselves safe as temperatures continue to rise. So far, there have been 34 heat-related illnesses reported as of April 18. The department said the highest number recorded was in 2023 at 513 cases.

Here are the common heat-related illnesses and how to avoid them:


Staying hydrated is important as it could help one avoid other heat-related illnesses, including heat stroke, among other health conditions.

According to Harvard Health Publishing, these are the symptoms of mild and moderate dehydration:

  • Experiencing thirst
  • Having a dry mouth
  • Less frequent urination
  • Having dark-colored urine
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Tiredness or fatigue

For babies and children, other symptoms include:

  • Having few or no tears when crying
  • Sunken soft spot at the top of their head
  • Playing less than normal

Drinking water throughout the day helps.

Heat rash

Excessive sweating because of the heat can be bad for the skin. This could lead to blistering or what is called a heat rash, which can be itchy.

The blisters commonly form in areas such as the neck, the groin area, under the breasts, elbow creases, and even on the upper chest, although the blisters can form in any part of the body. While it is usually reddish, the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS) noted that it may be “less obvious” for brown-skinned people.

Both the DOH and the NHS have advised the public to wear loose clothing in extreme heat to help regulate body temperature. This can also help the skin from getting irritated from clothing materials and skin rubbing together.

If one does get a heat rash and it gets uncomfortably itchy, the NHS said that using damp cloths or an ice pack on the affected area for at least 20 minutes may help ease the itch. Instead of scratching the itchy area, patting or tapping the rash can help too.

Heat cramps

John Hopkins Medicine noted that heat cramps are considered the “mildest” heat illness. This usually happens during or after exercising or working under extreme temperatures, with the cramping or muscle spasms felt in the legs, arms, or abdomen.

When a person experiences heat cramps, drinking water or something with electrolytes can help. The person should also be allowed to rest in a cool area, while an ice massage can help soothe the spot where the cramping occurs.

If the cramping does not go away after an hour, it is advised to seek medical help.

Heat exhaustion

Heat exhaustion usually happens when someone loses too much water and salt, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those vulnerable include senior citizens, those with high blood pressure, and anyone working under the sun or anywhere hot.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion include being very thirsty, tiredness, dizziness, headaches, feeling sick, excessive sweating with the skin getting pale or getting a heat rash, high temperature, and having a fast heartbeat. This means your body is overheating.

Heat exhaustion can be treated by moving to a cooler place, removing unnecessary clothing, and drinking cold water. Cold packs may also help regulate body temperature.

Heat stroke

Harvard Health said that heat stroke is the “potentially life-threatening form” of heat-related illness as extreme heat can damage heart muscle cells and blood vessels, as well as affect and damage internal organs.

Someone can be vulnerable to heat stroke if they are not used to high temperatures, not wearing proper clothing when it’s hot, deprived of sleep, overweight, or dehydrated.

There are several “warning symptoms,” which include abdominal and muscle cramps, being nauseous or dizzy, vomiting, having a headache, feeling weak, and either excessive sweating or the lack of it.

Harvard Health noted other neurological symptoms, including “odd behavior,” irritability, delusions, hallucinations, seizures, and getting into a coma.

One can prevent getting heat stroke by following some of the tips the DOH gave the public. These include staying hydrated, avoiding or limiting going outside from 10 am to 4 pm, wearing lightweight or loose clothing, and avoiding drinking iced tea, soda, coffee, and alcoholic drinks. – Rappler.com

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