Stay cool in the heat
Both daytime and nighttime temperatures this past week have been oppressive. Okay, we all know it’s summer, but after a winter that didn’t seem to want to quit, our bodies have hardly had time to adjust. And that’s why this sudden and prolonged heat wave is so dangerous. Take the proper precautions and stay cool.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov), we are now in the peak time of year for heat-related illnesses. In fact, 94 percent of heat-related deaths occur between May and September, with the highest number reported in July (39 percent) and August (26 percent). The very young and old seem to be the most vulnerable, as well as those who have pre-existing medical conditions. Though we’ve heard them all before, there are some well-known measures of protection that bear repeating.
First, if possible, stay indoors in well-ventilated, air-conditioned places. That’s especially wise if someone has a medical condition.
If you must venture into the inferno, wear light clothing: light colors to reflect light and lightweight natural fibers such as cotton that breathe.
Schedule outdoor activities in the early morning before the hottest time of day (2-4 p.m.) or later on in the early evening. Even then, take frequent breaks from the sun in well-shaded areas.
Always use sunscreen to protect from the harmful rays of the sun. Wear sunglasses with UV protection for your eyes and a wide brimmed hat.
Curtail physical activity. Even if you’re in decent shape, physical activity in 90 degrees will heighten dehydration. That’s why a water bottle should always be carried to replace fluids caused by sweating. But don’t be afraid to sweat, either. Sweating is the most natural way to cool down an overheated body.
Eat lightly. Heavy meals increase body heat during the metabolic process, and in hot weather it adds to the work your heart has to do on a regular day.
Remember to check on elderly neighbors and relatives during a heat wave in case they might need your help. And keep a close eye on the kiddos, too. Never leave children or pets in a hot car, ever!
And speaking of pets, they need extra-special attention in this weather as well: a full bowl of cool, clean water and a shady or better yet, air-conditioned place to rest their heads will do.
Remember, although summer is a very joyous time of year, it can also be very dangerous if common-sense heat recommendations aren’t heeded.
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