How dangerous is hot weather?

PRNewswire -- When summer heat pushes into the 90s, it's time to take action to protect yourself and your loved ones. But how smart are you about the heat? Dr. Joseph Hobbs, Chief of Family Medicine at MCG Health System, offers the following quiz to test your heat IQ.

  1) Those at greatest risk for heat illness include:

     a) Young children, the elderly, the obese and the sick

     b) All ages and conditions


   c) Young children and the elderly

While all ages can be at risk for heat illness, those at greatest risk are those in category "a."

  2) It is dangerously hot when:

     a) The heat index reaches at least 85 degrees.

     b) The heat index reaches at least 90 degrees.

     c) The heat index reaches at least 100 degrees.


The correct answer is "b." The heat index is how hot it feels when both temperature and humidity are taken into consideration. Even if the outside temperature is only in the mid-80s, the humidity can make it feel like it's over 90 degrees outside. That can become a dangerous situation if the heat overcomes your body's ability to regulate its internal temperature.

  3) You can help prevent heat illness and keep cool by:

     a) Staying in a cool, air-conditioned place and staying hydrated

     b) Wearing lightweight clothing, a hat and sunscreen

     c) All of the above

The correct answer is "c." Cooling centers and other public places offer relief for those without air conditioning. Note that an electric fan is not enough to keep you cool and safe if the heat index is 100 or more.


 4) What should you drink to cool off?

     a) Water, diluted fruit juice and sports drinks

     b) Any type of cool liquid is appropriate

     c) Milk, soda or iced tea

The correct answer is "a." While alcohol, sodas and other drinks containing caffeine are popular choices, particularly at outdoor events or when people are enjoying leisure activities outdoors, they actually make you lose water faster.

  5) The first sign that you are becoming dehydrated is:

     a) Flushed face and excessive sweating

     b) Thirst

     c) Headache and dizziness

The correct answer is "b." Ward off thirst and dehydration by drinking plenty of fluid before, during and after activity, and throughout the day.

Remember that heat illness happens in stages. Inadequate fluid intake or persistent thirst can be followed by more extreme symptoms such as headache and flushed skin, progressing to dizziness and weakness, and finally to rapid heartbeat, lack of sweating, loss of consciousness, even death. If you notice early signs that you are becoming dehydrated, stop activity, go to a cool place and drink cool liquids. By acting early, you can help protect yourself and your loved ones from the dangers of hot weather.


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