“Train for sweating in good time” to prevent heat death

Photo: CC0 Public Domain / unsplash – Hans Reniers

Temperatures are rising in Germany. And people have to deal with the heat. Up to a certain degree of warmth, the body can still regulate its own temperature, beyond that no more. A doctor explains what is important.

Last year, 4,500 people died in Germany due to the heat. According to Professor Hanns-Christian Gunga from the Berlin Charité, there are different forms of heat death. Sweating plays a decisive role in this, as he made clear in an interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ). This is how the body regulates its core temperature. In order not to die as a result of sweating, people have to drink enough. And sweating itself can also be trained, says Gunga.

That’s what happens in the body when it’s hot

The professor describes the situation as “life-threatening” when the body is unable to lower its own temperature. According to him, the “upper limit” is at a body temperature of 43 to 44 degrees Celsius. Starting at a temperature of 38 or 39 degrees, “processes get out of step at the molecular level”. According to Gunga, the normal temperature of a body is 37 degrees. If the body doesn’t manage to regulate the temperature, “metabolic processes get out of control,” Gunga warns.

How dangerous a hot day can be for people is not only determined by the air temperature, but also by the humidity, the wind and the radiation temperature. Also, the risk depends on a person’s health condition and how much water someone is drinking.

In an interview with the FAZ, Gunga explains what happens in the body when it is hot. In order to lower the temperature, the skin is supplied with more blood – people turn red in this case. In addition, the body expels sweat in order to cool the skin and the blood in it through evaporation. The cooled blood flows back to the heart, cooling organs in the body along the way. The body accelerates this process by making the heart beat faster.

This is how heat death occurs

In the interview, Gunga also explains how heat death occurs. Accordingly, thrombosis, a heart attack or a stroke can occur if the body sweats but does not drink enough. Through sweating, the body loses fluid, the blood cools down – and thickens if no fluid follows.

It can be decisive for a heatstroke if “too much sun has shone on the head for too long”. Then the region of the brain that is responsible for temperature regulation could be damaged – with the result that it no longer sends signals to the body and the body does not sweat or cool down, for example.

According to the professor, the first signs of dehydration and overheating are: feeling unwell, clouding of consciousness, dizziness or ringing in the ears. If any of this occurs, the doctor advises sitting or even lying down. According to him, it is also dangerous if people are on a ladder or stairs when the symptoms appear. Falls can occur, causing some people to die of indirect heat death.

Doctors: train sweating and drink a lot

According to Gunga, people can prevent this: “You can train to sweat in good time, for example by going to the sauna regularly and doing a lot of exercise or sport.” But you have to start training “well before the heat wave” according to the doctor – “preferably in the spring”. According to the professor, in people who sweat frequently, each sweat gland can produce sweat faster and in larger quantities. In addition, these people sweat on other parts of the body – on the extremities, where the cooling is “particularly efficient”. The composition of the sweat also changes, towards a low-electrolyte sweat with fewer salts and minerals, which the body does not lose.

In any case, it is important to drink a lot, according to the doctor. But you shouldn’t rely on your feeling of thirst, because that only sets in “very late”. Instead, you should “consciously drink a lot, even if you are not thirsty”.

Source used: FAZ

Read more on Techzle.com:

  • “Death sentence”: Monday broke the global weather record
  • Heat and Work: Can I Get Heat Free?
  • 60,000 heat deaths in Europe last year

Recent Articles

Related Stories