The Earth is hotter than ever. Last month, the planet experienced its warmest June in recorded history. Europe was one of the focal points of the hot weather. France recorded its highest temperature ever last Friday with the mercury rising to 114°F (46°C) in some parts of the country. Among those dealing with this hot weather are the players of the Women’s World Cup in France, who have been training and playing in temperatures hovering around 90°F (32°C) this week. Temperatures were also heating up across the United States with heat waves as far north as Alaska setting records.
Scientists say climate change is likely the reason behind the heat waves, and health experts are urging people to be mindful of the risks of heat-related illness. Generally, caution should be taken if the heat index is over 77 degrees (Fahrenheit). Above 82 degrees is considered ‘extreme caution’ heat-related illness is possible with long exposure. Over 85 is dangerous heat illness is likely and heat stroke is possible. Eighty-nine and above gives a high risk of heat stroke, Dr. Sterling Ransone, a practicing family physician in Deltaville, Virginia, told Healthline.
More than 600 peopleTrusted Source in the United States die due to extreme heat every year.
Heat-related illnesses such as heat stroke occur when the body struggles to cool itself. The human body uses sweat as a means of cooling off, but in extreme heat, sweating can’t always cool the body down. This can be particularly problematic in times of increased humidity.
When humidity is very high, our sweat cannot evaporate and drips off our body. Sweat must evaporate to be effective for releasing heat. If it drips off our body, then it is wasteful sweat. More humid conditions present this challenge. When the temperature is above 80 degrees and humidity is greater than 75 percent, the risk for heat injury is high, Micah Zuhl, PhD, an assistant professor in the department of health, exercise and sport sciences at the University of New Mexico, told Healthline.—VoM