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So you stay fit and healthy despite the heat
The German Weather Service (DWD) has published “heat warnings” for this week. Temperatures of over 40 degrees could even be reached in some regions. The extreme heat is a problem for many people. Experts explain how to get fit and healthy through the hot season.
Heat records expected
Heat records are expected in Germany again in the next few days. "The high temperatures can lead to considerable health problems," warned Prof. Peter Sefrin, federal doctor in the German Red Cross (DRK), in a message. On hot days, not only do symptoms such as dizziness and headache occur, but in extreme cases there is also a risk of heat stroke. Health experts explain how to get fit through the heat wave.
When the temperature rises, the human body automatically helps itself first: The blood vessels in the skin expand and can therefore dissipate more heat to the outside, explains the German Society for Internal Intensive Care Medicine and Emergency Medicine (DGIIN) in a message.
At the same time, you start to sweat, which makes cooling even more efficient thanks to the evaporative cooling.
"This built-in cooling system works automatically - but it has limits and must be supported in its work," explains Professor Dr. Hans-Jörg Busch, medical director of the emergency center at the Freiburg University Hospital and treasurer of the DGIIN.
Because the increased blood flow to the skin puts a strain on the circulation; With sweat, liquid and important minerals are lost.
These losses have to be compensated: While the usual drinking recommendation is around 1.5 liters per day, it should be at least twice as much in the heat.
Ideal drinks to quench your thirst are water, juice spritzer or tea; Soups and isotonic drinks can help compensate for salt loss.
"Seniors and children in particular often have a reduced feeling of thirst and should therefore be encouraged to drink consciously," says Busch.
There is often a high level of humidity on vacation in southern countries. "This means an additional burden on the body," says the expert.
Keep the circulation stable
The body also needs support to keep the circulation stable. Above all, the cardiovascular system should not be exposed to additional requirements.
“Heavy food, alcohol, ice-cold drinks and rapid changes in temperature put an additional strain on the circulation,” warns Busch.
The emergency physician therefore recommends small, light meals in the heat and - even if this runs counter to the need for rapid cooling - lukewarm drinks.
In addition, out of consideration for the circuit, cold showers and the sudden jump into cool water should also be avoided.
"Slow cooling, in which initially only arms and legs are immersed in the water, is much gentler," says the expert.
The reverse temperature jump should not take place too quickly either: If you cool down your house or car too much with air conditioning, for example, the sudden heat will take you twice when you get out.
The target temperature of the air conditioning system should therefore be a maximum of six degrees below the outside temperature. If you need additional cooling, you can put a damp cloth on your neck, for example.
Pregnant women should be particularly careful
Special care should be taken by expectant mothers, because their circulation is already strained by the pregnancy.
Circulatory problems, tiredness and heavy legs can increase on hot days.
The skin is also more sensitive to the sun and tends to stain. Even in chronically ill people, such as those with heart problems, symptoms such as tiredness, exhaustion or even cardiac arrhythmia can increase in the heat.
It is therefore important to stay in the shade, treat yourself to rest, drink a lot and put your legs up every now and then.
The basic principle for all people is to expose themselves to the heat as little as possible.
"In any case, try to avoid the midday sun between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.," recommends Busch. Children should play in the cooler house during this time of greatest heat.
To keep the bedrooms in particular cool, it is advisable to keep windows and shutters closed during the day and only ventilate them in the early morning or late evening.
Exercise or other physical activity should also be undertaken, if at all, only in the cooler hours of the day.
Ensure adequate sun protection
Anyone who cannot avoid spending time in the sun should definitely ensure adequate protection: light, airy clothing reflects the sun's rays, allows the air to circulate and protects against sunburn.
Exposed skin areas should be applied with a high sun protection factor; a sun hat protects the scalp from sunburn and reduces the risk of sunstroke.
Those who follow these rules should get through the hot days well.
However, everyone should also be aware of the warning signs of overheating: headache, drowsiness, vomiting, shortness of breath and cramps must be taken seriously as a harbinger of heat stroke and a doctor must be contacted immediately.
Because: "A heat stroke can even be life-threatening," warns DRK federal doctor Prof. Peter Sefrin.
The most important tips in the heat
The German Society for Internal Intensive Care Medicine and Emergency Medicine (DGIIN) has summarized the five most important tips in hot weather:
Drink a lot
Even at moderate temperatures, you should consume at least 1.5 liters of liquid a day. In the heat it should be 3 to 4 liters a day.
Fat, hard-to-digest food is particularly heavy in the stomach when it is hot and puts a strain on the circulation. Salad, vegetables, fruit and soups are better for hot days.
Do not cool suddenly
Even if jumping into the cold swimming pool seems tempting - the abrupt change in temperature exposes the circuit to extreme, sometimes even dangerous, stress. It is much better to cool down slowly.
Noon is closed
When doing sports or other sweaty activities, you should step significantly shorter in high heat. If possible, shift physical exertion to the cooler morning or evening hours.
Don't forget sun protection
Not only the heat, but also the UV radiation is dangerous. If you cannot avoid the midday sun, you should wear light, light clothing and a sun hat. The use of sunscreen should go without saying. (ad)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.