Beware—Hot Weather and Iron Supplements

Hot_WeatherJune 2017 has already brought us over 100 degree temps, but the hottest months of July and August are still ahead. The problem with hot weather is keeping our bodies cool especially for those in certain occupations. Even weekend warriors who do a lot of home maintenance such as lawn work, gardening, roofing, and fence fixing need to be careful not to overtax the body in extreme heat. Outdoor exercising such as bicycling, jogging, including summer football practice, should be done with a great degree of care in extreme heat.

There are several common sense precautions that everyone should take in extreme heat. You can Google the words, “when is it too hot to work outside,” or “extreme heat precautions” and read the list of “do’s and don’ts” regarding extreme heat. The U. S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s website: https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/heatstress/ has important information on what precautions should be put in place for workers in extreme heat.

One website says when the outside temperature comes close to the body’s natural temperature of 98.7, more or less, this is when the human body is most at risk for a list of life endangering affects from extreme heat. Keeping the body cool is essential in hot weather, including wearing hats, cool clothing, and most importantly staying hydrated. One website says that a person should drink one cup of water for every 20 minutes of exertion when the outside temp is above 90 degrees. Also frequent rest breaks should be taken to prevent extreme heat exhaustion. Runners and joggers should not try to be superhuman and keep going when there are signs of heat exhaustion and dehydration, including dizziness, disorientation, clammy skin, and confusion. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate is at the top of the list of commonsense precautions in extreme heat. When the humidity is high, even greater precautions should be taken because sweating is the body’s number one way of staying cool—humidity adversely affects the body’s ability to cool itself. People who work on roofs and around construction sites in hot-box, concrete jungle, cities should be particularly aware of conditions that can cause heat related illnesses. So what happens when the body is overstressed from heat?

One website says that an overstress body due to heat means the body is depleted of water or salt or both. In both cases, the signs include excessive thirst, headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and muscle cramps. Emergency help should be summoned fast for anyone who shows signs of heat exhaustion because heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke which can be fatal. In the world of information via smart phones everyone who works in extreme heat should take the time to do an internet search of common sense precautions to take in extreme heat.

Do you take iron supplements—and why? This information is not meant to give medical advice, so anyone who takes iron supplements should do their own research on who should take it and how much. Recently someone decided that their weakness and lethargy was due to lack of iron. The person bought a bottle of 65mg of iron supplements and took one tablet. Then the person decided to do a quick Google search and discovered that just one 65mg tablet can be toxic. One online website says this about iron supplements. “The recommended dietary allowance for women is 18 milligrams of iron per day, and men need about 8 milligrams per day. Pregnant women need 27 milligrams per day. Once women reach menopause their iron requirements drop to the same as those of men. The tolerable upper intake level for iron is 45 milligrams per day; if you consume more iron than this from supplements on a regular basis, toxicity symptoms are likely to occur.” The list of toxic symptoms for iron overdose or iron poisoning include, nausea, diarrhea, black stools, vomiting blood, a metallic taste in your mouth, stomach pain, fever and headache, which sometimes but not always occur within an hour of taking too many iron supplements. If you don’t get treatment, more severe overdose symptoms may include dizziness, chills, drowsiness, pale or flushed skin, fast or weak pulse and low blood pressure. Be careful when reaching for iron supplements.

Copyright 2017 – L. Arthalia Cravin. All rights Reserved. No part of this commentary may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the author.

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