EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU)— June 1 marks the start of meteorological summer, the hottest three months of the year.
While many of us look forward to meteorological summer, it comes with a potential health risk.
June, July, and August, they’ve been called the lazy, crazy, hazy days of summer. This three-month period brings to northeastern and central Pennsylvania the hottest weather of the year.
“As the temperature rises, obviously, people naturally are going to sweat and that’s going to allow your body to cool off,” said Doctor Jon Rittenberger, Chief of Emergency Medicine at Guthrie Robert Packer Hospital.
The problem is when it’s not only the heat, but also the humidity.
“The humidity actually prevents you from, you know, sweating and kind of sweating out that heat as efficiently as you would in a perhaps more dry environment,” said Dr. Rittenberger.
Dr. Rittenberger said heat illness may start rather basic, “You can have muscle cramps. You can have fatigue.”
But remaining in that state of heat stress without hydrating or cooling off increases your risk for either heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
“As your temperature goes too high, your brain is no longer able to mount all of these responses to shed that heat, then the core temperature of your body continues to rise and rise and rise,” said Dr. Rittenberger.
According to Dr. Rittenberger, your body temperature can increase to 106 degrees or higher in as little as ten minutes triggering some serious symptoms.
“When you stop sweating, that’s a very dangerous sign. People can behave abnormally. They might get very excited, they might get very tired and be less interactive,” Dr. Rittenberger said.
Signs of heat exhaustion include dizziness or fainting; excessive sweating; cool, pale, clammy skin; nausea or vomiting; a rapid or weak pulse; and muscle cramps.
The symptoms of heatstroke include a throbbing headache; no sweating; body temperature of about 103 degrees; red, hot, dry skin; a rapid, strong pulse; and loss of consciousness.
“If you’re feeling poorly. If you are concerned about someone, please have a low threshold to call for help. Call 911,” said Dr. Rittenberger
The very young and old are most vulnerable to heat illness but it is avoidable, even if you spend time outdoors on hot, humid days.