Heat & ozone - how can you protect yourself?

Summer heat, dog days, the sun is burning. For many people, however, the great heat can be a health burden. They feel limp, tired, beaten off. Those who additionally use physical activity in heat have a shortage of fluids and minerals.

Lovely ozone

Even low ozone concentrations cause irritation of the mucous membranes - especially the respiratory tract, but also the eyes. People with respiratory diseases should therefore never forget their asthma spray, because an increased ozone load easily leads to cough and bronchial constrictions. A person in rest breathe in and out about five liters of air per minute, but with great effort this value can increase more than tenfold. Outdoor sports activities should therefore be avoided at high ozone concentrations.

Heat sensitive?

Summertime saves us from rain - when not one of the heavy summer storms sets. All the more, then, does the heat bother us. However, this is individually different, one tolerates the heat better than the other. At normal outdoor temperatures, we lose about 2 liters of fluid daily, mainly via urine and respiratory air. On hot days, however, it can easily be 5 liters.

In high heat, our performance decreases, heart and circulatory problems threaten, the immune system is often additionally weakened by too much sun. With the temperatures also increases the risk of stomach and intestinal problems and food-borne gastrointestinal infections. Lack of sleep, an infection or a thyroid dysfunction can additionally worsen the heat tolerance. The female cycle also has an influence. In the so-called luteal phase, the core body temperature is increased by 0.4 degrees, so that the sweating begins later.

Dangers in the heat

Heat illnesses occur when the heat lasts longer and our body can no longer dissipate the heat sufficiently or when too much fluid and electrolytes are lost during physical exertion. It can lead to a heat exhaustion or to a heat stroke.

Heat exhaustion

The organism can not release the absorbed heat in sufficient quantity due to the high outside temperatures. Additional physical activities at high temperatures quickly lead to a lack of fluids and the loss of electrolytes. If minerals and water are not supplied in time, there is a risk of heat exhaustion.

First signs are cold sweat, paleness and a general feeling of weakness. Those affected shiver and have a fast but weak pulse at normal body temperature. Failure to take timely countermeasures can lead to circulatory failure and shock. It is important to store the victim flat in the shade, to give him plenty of mineral water or fruit spritzer and to open possibly restrictive clothing.

heat stroke

If the entire body overheats, heat builds up. This danger is particularly great in humid weather with high humidity. The signs are a bright red head, hot dry skin and a dull facial expression. The body temperature is increased by the overheating.

The heat stroke can also lead to powerlessness. Therefore, the emergency doctor must always be called in case of a heat stroke. Treatment: Moist towels on forehead and neck bring first relief. Another option is to rub the body with ice cubes. In case of unconsciousness, immediately bring the affected person into stable lateral position.


Sport should be used with great care in the case of extreme heat. The body loses between one and 1, 5 liters of liquid per hour depending on the physical stress. Failure to replace fluid accordingly may result in reduced performance. Athletes also need electrolytes that also get lost with sweating.

If the physical strain is too great and the lack of fluid is too strong, a circulatory collapse threatens. Therefore, at high temperatures athletes are recommended to move their activities into the cooler morning or evening hours. A circulatory collapse usually begins with sweating, the victim is black in the face and often he feels dizzy. In any case, the ambulance should be called.

How should you behave in high heat?

  • The most important thing in the heat of the day is to drink, drink and drink up to three liters more than usual. Recommended are chilled, but not ice-cold fruit juice spritzers. This keeps the circulation stable and replaces the fluid and mineral loss. Alcohol, coffee and black tea should be avoided, they have a dehydrating effect, that is, the body is withdrawn from the liquid faster.
  • Those who suffer from the heat automatically seek out shady places or a cool, ventilated room. Air conditioners should not be set too cold due to imminent colds.
  • Absolutely important is the clothing, because the air should circulate through the shirts and pants. This cools the body. The best are wide-cut, light cotton clothes.
  • Also advisable are headgear with neck protection, high sun protection cream and sunglasses.
  • A high-fat diet with sausages or pork should be avoided at all costs. Light foods such as vegetables, salads, water-rich fruit help as a protective measure against overheating of the body.
  • Older people and the chronically ill should consult with the doctor during a heat period or before traveling to the south and take precautionary measures.
  • Within a few weeks, an organism can adapt to higher temperatures, this is called heat acclimation. This can be seen well in athletes who train daily in the heat: The body core temperature increases from day to day slower, the increase in heart rate is lower, the exercise duration is extended. The cause is a more effective sweating.
  • If you do not want to do without sport in the summer and in the heat, you should be careful during the first five heat days. Thereafter, sporting activities can be gradually resumed.
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