Heat is more of a concern than constant temperature changes



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Persistent heat stresses the organism more than changes in the weather

So far, the summer has been characterized by relatively abrupt weather changes. These can cause considerable problems for sensitive people, but they are less harmful to health than prolonged heat, according to medical meteorologist Christina Koppe from the German Weather Service (DWD) in Freiburg.

According to the expert, healthy people have little difficulty switching between warm and wet and cold weather. As a rule, they do not show any health impairments. The only important thing is that sufficient liquid is absorbed at high temperatures. "Weather changes themselves don't make you sick," says the DWD medical meteorologist. However, particularly sensitive, weather-sensitive people often suffer from tiredness, circulatory problems and headaches or even migraines when the weather changes suddenly. Overall, however, "long-lasting heat would be much worse," continued Koppe.

Summer with changeable weather
According to the German Weather Service, the weather in July was extremely mixed. "The rocking summer, which we had to endure in June, continued in July 2012," said Uwe Kirsche, DWD spokesman. It is therefore not surprising that "the month was far too wet, but the temperature and sunshine turned out to be quite average." July showed ground frost at -1.1 degrees Celsius and already one day later the temperature rose to 31.1 degrees Celsius with a lot of sunshine. Last week, the highest temperatures of the year so far were reached, some of them above 35 degrees Celsius.

Cooling down again is beneficial for health
While many people would still have liked to have high temperatures with a lot of sunshine, the drop in temperature is also to be welcomed from a health point of view. Although this affects people who are sensitive to the weather, overall the health problems would have increased significantly more if the heat continued. In view of the extremely high temperatures in the past week, the emergency rooms for heat patients were already prepared. Especially the elderly and patients with cardiovascular diseases suffer from the weather changes, since their organism has to constantly adjust to new conditions, explained the DWD expert. Nevertheless, the cooling off for those affected after the hot, humid days a real relief. "You can breathe deeply again, get out and ventilate the apartment," says medical meteorologist Christina Koppe.

Lack of fluids as the cause of health problems
According to the DWD expert, the health complaints in warm weather conditions often result from insufficient fluid intake. Because of their reduced thirst, older people would often not drink enough and, according to Koppe, children often do not pay attention to their thirst when playing. "You should keep asking them to drink," said the medical meteorologist. Because when you sweat, salt is also lost, which should best be taken up again with mineral water containing sodium. Otherwise there is a risk of dizziness, circulatory problems and headaches. As a guideline, Koppe cited the intake of two liters on hot days. Mineral and tap water or fruit spritzers are recommended.

Liquid intake at high temperatures is particularly important
The German Society for Nutrition (DGE) also pointed out last week how important it is to take sufficient fluids, especially in warm weather. According to this, “depending on the age, around 1.5 liters should be drunk throughout the day, in hot weather it can still be three liters and more for healthy people.” Ideally suitable are “calorie-free drinks such as mineral and drinking water as well as unsweetened herbal and fruit teas . "Also, fruit juice spritzers made from one part of juice and three parts of water are acceptable and also quench your thirst," said the DGE. By contrast, according to the experts, luxury foods such as coffee, green and black tea should only be drunk in moderation. Sugar-sweetened soft drinks such as lemonades, fruit juice drinks, nectars or heavily sweetened ice teas are completely unsuitable as thirst quenchers. (fp)

Also read about heat:
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