Extreme weathers are nothing shocking these days. This year, central and western India are under a tremendous heat wave that had led to temperatures touching 47°C in the first week of May in parts of Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh. Even the hills are burning bad under the scorching sun, with foothills of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh experiencing temperatures 3-4 degrees above normal.
We know how these extreme temperatures affect us, right from making us hot and sweaty it causes dehydration and heat stroke serious enough to get a person hospitalized. Between 2030 and 2050, weather extremes are expected to lead to 250,000 additional annual deaths from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhoea and heat stress, according to the World Health Organization.
Here is how it affects our mind and body:
It’s a common fact that most people feel cranky and irritable when they’re hot and sweaty, but given the heat, we’re facing now, it make us aggressive, hostile and violent. A relatable example is road rage. High temperature leads to bad driving behavior, measured by more honking on the road, found a study from Arizona, US. Another US study found this that the standard deviation of temperature increased interpersonal violence by 4% and gang violence by 14%.
2. Mental Illness
Too much heat enhances anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and suicide in people pre-existing mental health problems. Mental health-related emergency department visits and hospital admissions reach the peak in hot weather, with the evidence being strongest for increased suicide tendencies, found a review of 35 studies published in the journal Public Health in 2018.
3. Memory problems
Hot weather also hampers a proper functioning of the brain, learning and working memory, which was tested using spatial span test and pattern recognition. Students find trouble in learning and are underperformed in the uncomfortably warm classroom, showed data from 10 million American students from the high school classes of 2001 to 2014 who took the PSAT exam multiple times.
Therefore, the only natural solution to stay out of the heat when possible, and when not, is to drink lots of water to stay hydrated and to keep away from other heat-related problems.
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