Hot weather can lead to respiratory problems in the vulnerable

Fans for sale on the streets are a little more tempting this weekend. Photo: Sipse
Fans for sale on the streets are a little more tempting these days. Photo: Sipse

Mérida, Yucatán — Keeping hydrated is critical, but you can’t go from hot to cool too rapidly.

After baking in the hot sun, chugging down ice water or abruptly splashing in a cool pool, is counterproductive said Ruby Ávila, a city health coordinator.

A sudden change in body temperature can cause vital liquids to evaporate, she said. The result could be respiratory tract infections. Children and the elderly are most vulnerable, and someone already battling the flu could get asthmatic bronchitis.

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Vaporization takes place not just from the skin surface, but also from the respiratory tract, which is vulnerable.

Yucatán continues to lead the list of states with the highest rate of acute respiratory infections (IRAs), with a weekly rate of 850.1 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

Up to July 14, doctors have diagnosed 319,641 infections (145,966 men and 173,675 women). In the last epidemiological week, 15,446 new patients were confirmed.

Respiratory diseases, which includes influenza, stuffy nose, sinus infection, sore throat, ear infection, bronchiolitis and pneumonia, rise 30 percent in summer.

Inhaling hot air can exacerbate respiratory disorders like COPD and promote airway inflammation. A person with COPD may experience a bronchospasm, which contracts the airways, making it harder to breathe, and causes shortness of breath. Just a few minutes of heat exposure can trigger a respiratory response.

Along with avoiding sudden changes in temperature, people are advised to cover the nose and mouth, keep the body hydrated and consume fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C.

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