Feeling Cranky? Heat May Be to Blame!


Feeling crankier than usual? More irritable? How about your kids? If that's you, you're not alone.

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The hot weather does a lot to our behavior.  Are your kids cranky?  Do you have less patience for your spouse, children, pets?  Well, there is real scientific research that we can blame it on the heat wave.  It is called heat rage!  It’s actually part of our language. Tempers flare, anger simmers and boils over, and of course there’s the proverbial hothead.

But a six-day heat wave has left some nerves a bit frayed. It’s not surprising that we get cranky in the heat. Hot and especially humid weather is known to be associated with increases in aggression and violence, as well as a lower general mood.  Dehydration affects the brain and disrupts our sleep, both of which darken our mood. When you’re uncomfortable for any reason, especially the heat, we tend to perceive things in a more negative way. Extreme heat actually lowers levels of serotonin in the brain, which is a feel good chemical.

The same things you do to keep from overheating will also help you keep your cool: Stay in air conditioning, drink plenty of water and, “avoid situations that generally irritate you and these types of situations might make your lose your cool.  Remember that children are at a greater risk for heat injury.  Here are some important reminders of how to keep them safe. Even when in the swimming pool hydration breaks are important.  Children playing outside may be at greater risk of heat stroke and exhaustion because they may lack the judgment to limit exertion during hot weather and to rehydrate themselves after long periods of time in the heat. Children should be dressed in light, loose-fitting clothes on extremely hot days. Breathable fabrics such as cotton are ideal because sweat can evaporate and cool down the child’s body.

When weather cools down, so will the hot tempers.  In the meantime, stay cool!