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How to Stay Safe in Hot Weather

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Bruce Gulland and Liz Waid share some ways people can protect themselves from dangerous sicknesses that come from extremely hot weather.

Voice 1 

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Bruce Gulland.

Voice 2 

And I’m Liz Waid. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

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Voice 1 

Storms. Floods. Mudslides. Tsunamis. Earthquakes. Most people know about the dangers of these natural disasters. But there is another natural disaster that can be just as dangerous as any of these. It is the heat wave.

Voice 2 

Heat waves can have deadly results. The World Health Organization says that between 1998 and 2017 over 160,000 people died because of extreme temperatures. But even without a heat wave, hot weather can be very dangerous. Working outside in the hot sun can affect people more than they know.

Voice 1 

People often do not recognize the changes in their bodies in hot weather. Or they may not know what to do to avoid the dangers of hot weather. Today’s Spotlight is on how people can stay safe in hot weather.

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Voice 2 

A heat wave is a period of hot weather that lasts for several days. Heat waves are common. Some heat waves last only a few days, but heat waves can last much longer. Heat waves are the most dangerous when they last for more than a few days.

Voice 1 

Experts say that heat causes the most damage when outside temperatures stay high day to night. The middle of the day is usually the hottest. And then at night the temperature is cooler. A healthy person’s body can adapt, or change, during the day so that hot weather is not as dangerous to his body. Then, at night when the temperature is cool, his body can rest from the heat. But, if the temperature does not cool down at night, this causes serious problems for his body. His body has no time to recover.

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Voice 2 

The human body reacts to heat through its own cooling system. When we get too hot, our skin begins releasing water on its surface. This sweat on the outside of the body evaporates into the air. As the sweat evaporates off the body, the person gets cooler.

Voice 1 

This natural cooling system works well for short periods of time. But it is possible for a person to release too much water as sweat. If he does not put enough water back into his body, he could become dehydrated. Dehydration is one of the most common problems in hot weather or a heat wave. Someone who is dehydrated may have trouble thinking or working. This is because lack of water affects the working of the brain.

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Voice 2 

Someone who is dehydrated should avoid working too hard and sweating. He needs to put water back into his body. So, he should also drink lots of water. If he does not, his dehydration could lead to more serious problems.

Voice 1 

There are three main illnesses that come from extreme heat. These are heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.

Voice 2 

Heat cramps are quick painful muscle movements that a person cannot control. A person can get heat cramps when she is in very hot weather and has not had enough water. They are most common when a person has also been doing a lot of physical activity. If a person has heat cramps, you should move her to a cool place. Then give her plenty of liquids. A sports drink is a good choice. But coconut water, milk, or water are also very good in this situation.

Voice 1 

Heat exhaustion is more serious than heat cramps. A person with heat exhaustion may have cool wet skin. He may sweat a lot and feel dizzy or faint. He may feel as if he will be sick or have a headache. His heart will beat quickly, but weakly. He may even fall to the ground. If it is not treated, it can be very serious.

Voice 2 

Heat exhaustion can develop quickly. But it may also develop slowly over a few days. Often, the victim may not even observe the changes and problems happening in his body.

Voice 1 

During heat exhaustion, his body is trying to make his body temperature normal again. You can help his body cool down. A person with heat exhaustion should immediately stop working. He should rest in a cool place. They should remove any warm clothing. You can give him cool, wet clothes to put on his skin. And most importantly, he should drink liquids like sports drinks, coconut water, milk, or water.

Voice 2 

If heat exhaustion goes untreated, it may develop into heatstroke. This is the most damaging and dangerous problem that comes from hot weather. During heatstroke a person’s average body temperature rises to over 40 degrees Celsius.

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Voice 1 

One sign of heatstroke is that the person becomes confused. He may not be able to answer simple questions. The person’s skin may be dry and red or lighter than normal. He may feel as if he will be sick. And he may take short fast breaths and have a fast but quiet heartbeat.

Voice 2 

If his body temperature rises above 42 degrees, his body will even begin to damage his organs. This can result in permanent brain damage or even death. A person suffering from heat stroke must get treatment immediately.

Voice 1 

If you think someone is suffering from heat stroke, it is very important to help them. Here is what you can do. Remove the person from the heat. Take off his clothes and pour cool water over his body. The water will begin to evaporate and help to cool him down. Place a cool, wet cloth on his skin under his arms and on his neck. Blood vessels are very close to the skin in these areas. The cloth will help to cool his blood and his body. Make sure you get emergency help as soon as you can.

Voice 2 

Many people may not recognize these signs of heat sicknesses. But it is important to know what they are and how to treat them. Here are some more suggestions about how to stay safe in hot weather:

Voice 1 

Try to stay out of the sun. Use a sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun. Sun can badly burn a person’s body. This affects your body’s ability to cool itself. If you are in the sun and begin to feel sick, find a cool place immediately. Sit under a tree or go inside to drink some liquids.

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Voice 2 

Do not plan too much work or activity for the hottest parts of the day. Save those things for when the weather is cooler.

Voice 1 

Drink as much water as you can. Avoid alcohol, tea, coffee, and drinks with a lot of sugar. These make your body use more water than they provide.

Voice 2 

Wear light-colored clothes. Dark clothes make a person feel hotter. And the clothes you wear should be loose – just a little big for your body.

Voice 1 

Know your own risks. Some medicines or medical conditions can increase the risk for problems in hot weather. If you are more at risk, make sure you are able to stay cool.

Voice 2 

Finally, if the weather is extremely hot, protect the weaker members of your community. Extreme heat causes the most harm to people over 65 years old and children who are less than four years old.

Voice 1 

It is important that people know and recognize the dangers of hot weather. Knowing these signs could help you save someone’s life. They could even help you save your own! Be safe about hot weather.

Voice 2 

Is hot weather a concern in your country? Have you ever experienced a heat wave? Tell us about your experiences. You can email us at contact@spotlightenglish.com. You can also find us on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Voice 1 

The writer of this program was Liz Waid. The producer was Michio Ozaki. The voices you heard were from the United Kingdom and the United States. You can listen to this program again, and read it, on our website at www.spotlightenglish.com. This program is called “How to Stay Safe in Hot Weather”

Voice 2 

Visit our website to download our free official app for Android and Apple devices. We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye.

Question:

Are heat waves a concern where you live? Have you ever experienced a heat wave?

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5 comments
  • In my country the heat wave is not as big a problem as in other countries. But there are days where the heat is so strong that you can not work normally but the good thing is that in the evenings the temperature drops again, I think that if these sunny days are extended would be a very serious problem.

  • Yes, of course the weather in summer is about 50 degrees so we can’t go out side in the day ,and we should use air conditioners in every house ,then the employees can’t work in the sun ,we drink many liquids especially water

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