How to cope with heatwaves harmful effects

Dear reader,

Last month I wrote a short article where I described the main causes of heatwaves and their effects on our chaotic lives.

This month I intend to show here some basic procedures that can help us when facing a heatwave.

During heatwaves people are susceptible to three heat-related conditions:

  • Heat stroke: is the most serious medical condition caused by extreme heat. It requires immediate emergency treatment! It can result in death without immediate medical attention! Critical symptoms include:
    • high body temperature (40 °C or higher)
    • hot, red, dry or damp skin
    • fast, strong pulse
    • headache
    • dizziness
    • nausea
    • confusion
    • losing consciousness (passing out)

What to do:

  1. Call free emergency number right away — heat stroke is a medical emergency, then:
  2. Move the person to a cooler place
  3. Help lower the person’s temperature with a cool or cold bath, misting, fanning or applying cool cloths, if a bath is not available.
  4. Do not give the person anything to drink!
If you feel unwell during a heatwave
  • Heat exhaustion: is a severe heat-related illness requiring emergency medical treatment. Common symptoms are:
    • heavy sweating
    • cold, pale and clammy skin
    • fast, weak pulse
    • nausea or vomiting
    • muscle cramps
    • tiredness or weakness
    • dizziness
    • headache
    • brief fainting (passing out)

What to do:

  1. Move the person to a cool place
  2. Loosen their clothes
  3. Put cool, wet cloths on their body, use misting and fanning, or help them take a cool bath
  4. Have the person sip water

Get medical help right away if:

  • vomiting occurs
  • symptoms get worse
  • symptoms last longer than 1 hour
  • confusion develops
Keeping out of heat
  • Heat cramps: are muscle spasms, often in the abdomen, arms or calves, caused by a large loss of salt and water in the body. Typical symptoms are:
    • heavy sweating during intense exercise
    • muscle pain or spasms

What to do:

  1. Stop physical activity and move the person to a cool place
  2. Have the person drink water or a sports drink
  3. Instruct the person to wait for cramps to go away before resuming physical activity

Get medical help right away if cramps last longer than 1 hour.

Keeping yourself cool and hydrated

“Anyone can suffer from heat-related illness at any time, but some people are at greater risk than others:

  1. Infants and children up to 4 years of age are sensitive to the effects of high temperatures, and rely on others to regulate their environments and provide adequate liquids.
  2. People aged 65 years or more may not compensate for heat stress efficiently, and are less likely to sense and respond to changes in temperature.
  3. People who are overweight may be prone to heat sickness because of their tendency to retain more body heat.
  4. People who overexert during work or exercise may become dehydrated and susceptible to heat sickness.
  5. Other vulnerable groups include:
    • people confined to bed and unable to care for themselves;
    • people who are physically ill, especially those with endocrine disorders, cardiovascular diseases, neurological diseases and psychological disorders, chronic pulmonary diseases, liver diseases and kidney problems, or high blood pressure; and
    • people who take medications that aggravate dehydration and heat exhaustion, such as
    diuretics, anti-inflammatory drugs, certain antibiotics, antivirals and antidepressants, etc.” (Preventing Harmful Health Effects of Heat-Waves)
Help other people that can may suffer from heat, please!

Works Cited

“Heat Wave Safety.” Heat Exhaustion Safety | Red Cross, The American National Red Cross, 2022, https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/heat-wave-safety.html.

“Preventing Harmful Health Effects of Heat-Waves.” World Health Organization Europe, 2006.

Therefore, if your current place is under a heatwave right now,  stay cool and hydrated, please!

Best Regards from a distant land still surrounded by heatwaves,

Wilson

Heatwaves: causes and effects

Dear reader,

The topic that I chose to write about this month is extremely important since it’s affecting millions of people around the world right now!

Surely the reader must be wondering “Why are heat waves in various parts of the world increasing lately?”

Temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius have become frequent in several European countries in recent weeks, mainly in France, Portugal and Spain. In addition, the temperature has also reached record heat levels in various parts of the UK. During the summer of last year, at some places in Canada, a country considered to have a mild temperature at this time of year, the temperature exceeded 45 degrees Celsius! Even here in Japan, where your blogger currently lives, the heat wave started really strong last month, when the normal would be just a wet season with frequent rains..

Is it just a coincidence that this is happening in several parts of the world at the same time? Obviously not! However, before we try to explain what are the causes of a heat wave, let’s first define scientifically what a heat wave is…

A heat wave, or heatwave, is a period of excessively hot weather, which may be accompanied by high humidity, especially in oceanic climate countries. While definitions vary, a heat wave is usually measured relative to the usual weather in the area and relative to normal temperatures for the season. Temperatures that people from a hotter climate consider normal can be called a heat wave in a cooler area if they are outside the normal climate pattern for that area.

The World Meteorological Organization, defines a heat wave as five or more consecutive days of prolonged heat in which the daily maximum temperature is higher than the average maximum temperature by 5 °C or more. However, some nations have come up with their own criteria to define a heat wave.

Heat waves form when high pressure aloft (from 3,000 to 7,600 m) strengthens and remains over a region for several days up to several weeks. This is common in summer (in both Northern and Southern Hemispheres) as the jet stream ‘follows the sun’. On the equator side of the jet stream, in the upper layers of the atmosphere, is the high pressure area. (Heat wave)

“High-pressure systems are associated with clearing conditions, but also stable, sinking air. So whenever a high-pressure area moves over a region, the air in the nearby atmosphere sinks toward the surface. This sinking action acts as a dome cover, sealing off the air underneath the high pressure from the surrounding atmosphere.

This “cap” that forms over the affected area traps heat that would otherwise rise into the air and cool before circulating back to the surface. The inability to rise not only reduces the chance for precipitation but also allows the continual buildup of heat, which we on Earth’s surface experience as a heat wave.” (Means)

The heat dome (source: Drishti IAS)

“Heatwaves over land have become more frequent and more intense since the 1950s due to climate change in almost all world regions. Furthermore, heat waves are more likely to occur simultaneously with droughts. Marine heatwaves have also increased in frequency, with a doubling since 1980. The intensity of individual heat waves can often be attributed to global warming. Some extreme events would have been nearly impossible without human influence on the climate system. A heatwave that would occur once every ten years before global warming started, now occurs 2.8 times as often. Under further warming, heatwaves are set to become more frequent. An event that would occur each ten years, would occur every other year if global warming reaches 2 °C.” (Heat wave)

“As greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide trap extra heat in Earth’s atmosphere, temperatures all over the world rise. Not only is this warmer air able to “hold” more water vapor, but it’s also able to evaporate more liquid water from soils, plants, oceans, and waterways, transferring this moisture from ground levels up into the atmosphere aloft. So, global warming essentially makes high air temperatures and atmospheric humidity—two heat wave must-haves—more readily available.” (Means)

Heat waves generate many harmful effects, especially on human health. Hyperthermia, also known as heat stroke, becomes commonplace during periods of sustained high temperature and humidity. Older adults, very young children, and those who are sick or overweight are at a higher risk for heat-related illness. The chronically ill and elderly are often taking prescription medications (e.g., diuretics, anticholinergics, antipsychotics, and antihypertensives) that interfere with the body’s ability to dissipate heat. (Heat wave)

The heat index (as shown in the table below) is a measure of how hot it feels when relative humidity is factored with the actual air temperature:

Heat Index (source: Heat Index – Wikipedia)

In a summary, the heat index can have the following dangerous effects on our body, depending on the temperature:

Effects of Heat Index

Other effects related to health are:

  • psychological and sociological effects: in addition to physical stress, excessive heat causes psychological stress, to a degree which affects performance, and is also associated with an increase in violent crime. High temperatures are associated with increased conflict both at the interpersonal level and at the societal level. In every society, crime rates go up when temperatures go up, particularly violent crimes such as assault, murder, and rape. Furthermore, in politically unstable countries, high temperatures are an aggravating factor that lead toward civil wars.
  • surface ozone (air pollution): during heat waves in urban areas, ground level ozone pollution can be 20% higher than usual!

In addition, there are many negative effects not directly related to health such as:

  • crop agriculture reduction: beyond a certain range of temperatures, warming tends to reduce yields because crops speed through their develop- ment, producing less grain in the process. And higher tem- peratures also interfere with the ability of plants to get and use moisture.
  • wildfires: if a heat wave occurs during a drought, which dries out vegetation, it can contribute to bushfires and wildfires.
  • infrastructure damage: heat waves can and do cause roads and highways to buckle and melt, water lines to burst, and power transformers to detonate, causing fires. Heat waves can also damage rail roads, such as buckling and kinking rails, which can lead to slower traffic, delays, and even cancellations of service when rails are too dangerous to traverse by trains.
  • power outages: heat waves often lead to electricity spikes due to increased air conditioning use, which can create power outages, exacerbating the problem.

Therefore, dear reader, there aren’t any good effects caused by heatwaves, only bad ones!

On next month I intend to write an article describing what we can do to minimize these harmful effects, so until there stay safe and hydrated, please!

Best Regards from a distant land currently surrounded by heatwaves,

Wilson

Works Cited

“Heat Wave.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 28 July 2022, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heat_wave.

Means, Tiffany. “What Causes Heat Waves? Formation, Impact, and Climate Analysis.” Treehugger, Treehugger, 12 Nov. 2021, https://www.treehugger.com/what-causes-heat-wave-4863232.

Drishti IAS. “Heat Waves and Heat Dome.” Drishti, Drishti The Vision Foundation, 20 July 2021, https://www.drishtiias.com/paper1/heat-waves-and-heat-dome.

“Heat Index.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 22 July 2022, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heat_index.

Vegetables: Overview

Dear reader,

Probably the vast majority of you didn’t have the opportunity to read all the eleven articles about vegetables published by this blogger of yours..

Almost one year and half ago I wrote my first article about vegetables in this distant corner of the cyberspace.. 😉 After this very short introduction, I wrote another article where I summarized how vegetable types are categorized in this chaotic and amazing planet. 🙂

A lot of vegetables! 🙂

Then, between April 2021 and May 2022, I wrote nine short articles about the following vegetable types:

Therefore, if you haven’t access one or more of the articles listed above, just click on them for curiosity to learn a little bit more about the parts of plants that are consumed by humans or other animals as food.. 😉

By the way, any future article about vegetables will concentrate just about a specific one where I will try to write not only about it, but also suggest a very basic (but still delicious) recipe!

Best Regards from the Land of Expensive Vegetables,

Wilson

Vegetables: Tubers

Dear reader,

One year and two months ago I did a very short introduction related to how vegetables are categorized. This month I intend to write a little bit about another important kind of vegetables, i.e, tubers vegetables. 🙂

As explained in a previous article, when referring to vegetables, tubers are vegetables which grow underground on the root of a plant.

Some examples of most common tubers vegetables are kūmara, potatoes, (storage root), yam, taro, Jerusalem artichoke and ulluco.

Some examples of tubers vegetables

It’s worthwhile to mention that “tubers vegetables have big, edible bulb-like roots that are abundant in nutrients but low in calories and, in most cases, fat-free. Tubers have the ability to regenerate new plants. They should keep for several weeks if stored dry and unpeeled.

Tubers vegetables are underground stems of plants that swell to store nutrients and for the next season’s growth. The mature ones can be removed from the ground and taken out of the soil. They can produce new plants by removing a portion of the tuber. While the potato is the most common tuber vegetable, many tuber vegetables are used around the world to produce starch and carbohydrate.” (Holmes)

That’s all for today! I hope you have found this short article useful and interesting. Stay tuned for more articles about vegetables this year, please!

Best Regards from The Land of Sweet Potatoes 😉 ,

Wilson

Works Cited

“Tubers.” Vegetables, 2022, https://www.vegetables.co.nz/vegetable-classification/tubers/.

Holmes, Jonathan. “What Are Tuber Vegetables?” Planted Shack, Planted Shack, 19 Jan. 2022, https://www.plantedshack.com/what-are-tuber-vegetables/.

Vegetables: Stems

Dear reader,

One year and month ago I did a very short introduction related to how vegetables are categorized. This month I intend to write a little bit about another important kind of vegetables, i.e, stems vegetables. 🙂

As explained in a previous article, when referring to vegetables, stems are the edible stalks of plants when the stalk is the main part of the vegetable.

Some examples of most common stems vegetables are asparagus, celery, rhubarb, bamboo shoots, kohlrabi, and turmeric.

Some examples of stems vegetables

It’s worthwhile to mention that stems vegetables possess minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. In addition, they should not be over-cooked, otherwise they may lose their crunchiness (defined as the sensation of muffled grinding of a foodstuff 😉 ).

That’s all for today! I hope you have found this short article useful and interesting. Stay tuned for more articles about vegetables this year, please!

Best Regards from The Land of Asparagus (and Bamboo Shoots too) 😉 ,

Wilson

Works Cited

Dalebö, Thor. “About Stem Vegetables.” Know Your Vegetables, 2009, https://sites.google.com/site/knowyourvegetables/about-vegetable-types/about-stem-vegetables.

Vegetables: Seeds

Dear reader,

Exactly one year ago I did a very short introduction related to how vegetables are categorized. This month I intend to write a little bit about another important kind of vegetables, i.e, seeds vegetables. 🙂

As explained in a previous article, when referring to vegetables, seeds are also known as legumes. Apart from sweet corn, seeds usually grow in pods which are sometimes eaten along with the seeds.

Some examples of most common seeds are peas, beans and sweet corn.

Examples of some seeds (legumes)

It’s important to write here that although beans and peas are classified as seeds in general, there are a lot of differences between them! The biggest difference is that “beans are oval, or kidney shaped whereas peas are round. On the other hand, beans and peas are rich in carbohydrates, protein, and dietary fiber. A combination of beans and peas forms a well-balanced diet, especially for vegetarians.” (admin) 😉

Differences between beans and peas

It’s worthwhile to mention that “fresh raw beans, particularly red and kidney beans comprise a harmful toxin called lectin phytohaemagglutinin. In addition, edible beans also contain oligosaccharides known as raffinose and stachyose. However, as the normal human digestive tract does not contain any oligosaccharide digestive enzymes, consumed oligosaccharides are characteristically digested by gut bacteria. As a result, flatulence-causing gasses are produced by these bacteria. Thus, beans cause bloating and flatulence effects. Also, some people are allergic to peas.(admin)

Some examples of beans
Some examples of peas

Another extremely important type of seed vegetable is “sweet corn (also called sugar corn and pole corn) i.e., a variety of maize grown for human consumption with a high sugar content. Sweet corn is the result of a naturally occurring recessive mutation in the genes which control conversion of sugar to starch inside the endosperm of the corn kernel. Unlike field corn varieties grown for animal fodder, which are harvested when the kernels are dry and mature (dent stage), sweet corn is picked when immature (milk stage) and prepared and eaten as a vegetable, rather than a grain. Since the process of maturation involves converting sugar to starch, sweet corn stores poorly and must be eaten fresh, canned, or frozen, before the kernels become tough and starchy. It is one of the six major types of corn, the others being dent corn, flint corn, pod corn, popcorn, and flour corn.” (Sweet corn)

Some examples of sweet corns

That’s all for today! I hope you have found this short article useful and interesting. Stay tuned for more articles about vegetables this year, please!

Best Regards from The Land of Azuki (and Sweet Corn too) 😉

Wilson

Works Cited

admin. “Difference Between Beans and Peas.” PEDIAA, Pediaa.com, 12 Nov. 2015, https://pediaa.com/difference-between-beans-and-peas/.

“Sweet Corn.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 30 Mar. 2022, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweet_corn.

Vegetables: Roots

Dear reader,

Eleven months ago I did a very short introduction related to how vegetables are categorized. This month I intend to write a little bit about another important kind of vegetables, i.e, root vegetables. 🙂

Although most any vegetable that grows underground is frequently categorized as a root vegetable, true root vegetables include only taproots and tuberous roots. These vegetables are actual functioning roots. Bulbs, corms, rhizomes, and tubers all resemble roots, but are not actually plant roots in their own right. The difference is largely one of biological distinction, and vegetables in these classes are often lumped with true root vegetables for simplicity if nothing else.

They grow beneath the soil, and their function is to deliver nutrients directly to the leafy greens above ground. This nutrient-carrying capacity makes the roots very healthful for humans. The roots are typically full of vitamins and minerals, and for this reason are often considered a “superfood.”

Some examples of most common taproots include carrots, rutabagas, beets, radishes, and salsify. Vegetables in the tuberous root family include yams, sweet potatoes, ginger, and cassava.

Some taproot vegetables (on the left)
Some tuberous root vegetables (on the left)

It’s worthwhile to mention that root vegetables are generally storage organs, enlarged to store energy in the form of carbohydrates. They differ in the concentration and the balance among starches, sugars, and other types of carbohydrate. Of particular economic importance are those with a high carbohydrate concentration in the form of starch; starchy root vegetables are important staple foods, particularly in tropical regions.

That’s all for today! I hope you have found this short article useful and interesting. Stay tuned for more articles about vegetables this year, please!

Best Regards from The Land of Daikon (and Ginger too) 😉

Wilson

Works Cited 

Mitchell C. “What Are the Different Types of Root Vegetables?” Delighted Cooking, DelightedCooking, 31 Jan. 2022, https://www.delightedcooking.com/what-are-the-different-types-of-root-vegetables.htm.

Stargate

Dear reader,

This month I’m posting my third movie review here! 😉

This time I have chosen a movie that I was trying to watch for a long time, despite of not being available at the moment on many “streaming sites” around the world. It’s a science fiction adventure film, entitled “Stargate”, released in 1994, being directed and co-written by Roland Emmerich.

This movie is the first entry in the Stargate media franchise and stars Kurt Russell, James Spader, Jaye Davidson, Alexis Cruz, Mili Avital, and Viveca Lindfors. The plot centers on the premise of a “Stargate”, an ancient ring-shaped device that creates a wormhole, enabling travel to a similar device elsewhere in the universe. The film’s central plot explores the theory of extraterrestrial beings having an influence upon human civilization.

Official theatrical poster for the movie “Stargate”

In 1928 in Giza, Egypt, Catherine Langford’s father unearthed cover stones (also called casing stones) engraved with Egyptian hieroglyphs. In 1994, she invites Egyptologist and linguist Daniel Jackson, Ph.D. to translate the hieroglyphs:

The stones are now part of a U.S. Air Force classified project overseen by Special Operations Colonel Jack O’Neil. Jackson determines that the hieroglyphs refer to a “stargate” which uses constellations as spatial coordinates. He is then shown the Stargate, which was also discovered by Langford’s father, and they use his coordinates to align the Stargate’s metal ring with markings along its outside. When all seven are locked in, a wormhole opens, connecting the Stargate with a distant planet. Jackson joins O’Neil and his team as they pass through the wormhole, and then the real adventure begins! 😉

The official trailer for this interesting movie can be seen by clicking on the following link:

According to WS (Wilson’s Scale) for grading movies, the “Stargate” movie received a 7.5 (out of 10) grade, i.e., I definitely recommend it! 😉

I really enjoyed watching this movie, so I do hope that you can have a chance to watch it too! 🙂

Best Regards from the Land of 面白い映画,

Wilson, the Watcher

Works Cited

“Stargate (Film).” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 18 Jan. 2022, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stargate_(film).

PS. If you want to know more details about the Wilson’s Scale I recommend you to take a look at the following post:

Vegetables: Leaves

Dear reader,

Nine months ago I did a short introduction related to how vegetables are categorized. This month I intend to write a little bit about another important kind of vegetables, i.e, leaves vegetables. 🙂

As explained in a previous article, when referring to vegetables, leaves are the edible leaves of a plant.

“Nearly one thousand species of plants with edible leaves are known. Leaves vegetables most often come from short-lived herbaceous plants, such as lettuce and spinach. Woody plants of various species also provide edible leaves.

The leaves of many fodder crops are also edible for humans, but are usually only eaten under famine conditions. Examples include alfalfa, clover, most grasses, including wheat and barley. These plants are often much more prolific than traditional leaves vegetables, but exploitation of their rich nutrition is difficult, due to their high fiber content. This can be overcome by further processing such as drying and grinding into powder or pulping and pressing for juice.

Leaves vegetables contain many typical plant nutrients, but since they are photosynthetic tissues, their vitamin K levels are particularly notable. Phylloquinone, the most common form of the vitamin, is directly involved in photosynthesis. They are typically low in calories and fat, and high in protein per calorie, dietary fiber, vitamin C, pro-vitamin A carotenoids, folate, manganese and, as already mentioned, vitamin K.” (Leaf Vegetable)

Forty-five green leaves vegetables

That’s all for today! I hope you have found this short article useful and interesting. Stay tuned for more articles about vegetables next year, please!

Best Regards from The Land of Cabbage (and Broccoli too) 😉 ,

Wilson

Works Cited 

“Leaf Vegetable.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 23 Oct. 2021, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leaf_vegetable.

Back Pain

Dear reader,

The topic of this blog this month is, unfortunately, about a serious problem that affects millions of people around the world, including this modest writer, i.e., back pain… 😦

Many people think that severe back pain only happens to elderly people or those who have had a serious accident. This is a terrible mistake!

The first time I had an extremely severe back pain was when I was about 35 years old. I will never forget that! It was such a pain that I had to take a shot directly in the back because I couldn’t even stand up!

The direct cause of this horrible back pain was (after taking an X-ray exam) a herniated disc in my lower back.

The worst thing I found out was that there is no natural cure for a herniated disc, only treatment (including physical therapy) to relieve the pain to a level that is fully acceptable.

What made me very sad at that time was knowing that I was solely responsible for originating this herniated disc. That’s because for over thirty years I never exercised regularly (spending most of my time just sitting) and I always sat in various totally inconvenient positions, ie, never in a straight position!

This month I had the third relapse (the second was about ten years ago approximately) in relation to my herniated disc. Although I’m being a lot more careful if compared to thirty years ago, at the end of last month I spent a whole day changing the carpet and cleaning my room (where I had to carry lots of things around). In addition, on the next day I still went to the gym! In other words, I abused my back without resting a bit and consequently two days later I experienced an extreme back pain again… 😦

I am a little bit better now, but still feel some pain when I just stand up early morning. Therefore, I am still taking some painkillers, medicine for relaxing back muscles and doing some physical therapy.

Therefore, dear reader, to avoid having back pain in a near future you should follow these three advices:

  • DO EXERCISE REGULARLY,
  • DON’T STAY SEATED FOR TOO LONG and,
  • ALWAYS SIT PROPERLY KEEPING YOUR HIPS AND KNEES AT A RIGHT ANGLE!

I do hope that I can recover 100% as soon as possible and write here about a more pleasant topic.

Best Regards,

Wilson

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