Summer Heat and High Temperatures Increase Stroke Risks

Deanne Stein Health Guide
  • Now that I'm showing, a lot, I get hit with a gazillion questions every day. Most of the questions come from complete strangers. The most common ones are ‘When are you due?' or ‘Is it a girl or a boy?', and ‘How are you feeling?' I don't mind the questions. It seems everyone is just as excited about my little girl as I am. It's really amazing to think I'm creating a new life inside of me. I wish I were a better pregnant person, though. To tell you the truth, I haven't enjoyed my pregnancy. I've been so sick to my stomach, even now in the third trimester. My back hurts all the time and I have zero energy. Plus, the two shots of Lovenox in the belly each day are less than thrilling. But, I have enjoyed the movement. She's quite a mover and a shaker in there. She kicks and squirms all the time, and it's very entertaining to watch my belly bounce around. So, I guess these final weeks are outshining the bad ones right now.

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    Another question I get all the time is ‘Isn't it miserable being pregnant during the heat of the summer?' Yeah, thanks for reminding me. I actually think I planned the pregnancy pretty well, considering I will be on maternity leave during all of the major holidays. But, it does come at a cost. Because they're right, being pregnant in the summer, particularly these past two weeks, has been very difficult. The heat wave seems to be hitting everywhere and this has been the hottest week of the year here in West Virginia, with heat indexes in the 100's. I actually got light-headed walking from my house to the car. It seems like it takes forever for the air conditioner to cool down the car too. A big part of my job reporting the news is spent outside, or at least coming and going from one location to the next. I guess I've just learned to listen to my body.


    I keep cold bottled water with me at all times and take advantage of the car. My photographers understand my condition and record video at the scene while I sit in the air-conditioned car. I'll pop out to do an interview here and there. Mostly they insist we work like this, so they're great co-workers. But in this heat everyone should be careful, not just us pregnant women.


    If you're not careful you could develop heat stroke. I've heard it on the scanners all week, paramedics responding to heat stroke victims. Heat stroke is similar to heat cramps and heat exhaustion, only it's more severe. People typically get it from doing heavy work when it's extremely hot outside, usually in combination with not getting enough fluids. Older adults, obese people and people born with an impaired ability to sweat are at the highest risk of heat stroke. Also, dehydration, alcohol use, cardiovascular disease and certain medications are risk factors. Some signs and symptoms include rapid heartbeat, shallow breathing, elevated or lowered blood pressure, cessation of sweating and fainting. If you suspect heat stroke, move the person out of the sun and into a shady or air-conditioned area and dial 911. Also, fan the person or spray them with cool water until help arrives. The heat is nothing to play around with so stay safe out there; it will be cooler again soon enough.

Published On: August 17, 2007