Summertime is here and so is the heat! Here in Southern California,as in many other parts of the country, it is more that warm, it is hot! The season has just started and already the rising temperature is breaking records throughout the United States. I don’t care for the heat. I don’t function well in the heat and would much rather migrate and go north for the summer if it were at all possible. I am stuck here as are most of you. For hotter or cooler, but hopefully not until death us do part. There are ways to survive the heat and maybe make yourself a bit more comfortable in the process. High temperatures can be more than uncomfortable. High temperatures can be deadly.
The human body is meant to function optimally at an internal temperature of 98.6 degrees. In the summertime when the weather-man tells us that there is a high pressure ridge lingering in your area, you can bet things will become heated. If precautions are not taken you can actually begin to roast like the rump roast that you stuck in the oven last Sunday. Here are a few symptoms to watch out for that might suggest that your core temperature is on the rise and you should proceed with caution or possibly even seek medical attention.
1. Prolonged exposure to the sun can mean dehydration and the possibility of heat stroke or sun stroke. Both which can be deadly.
a. Move into the shade or into a cooler place at once.
b. Drink water often, even if you are not thirsty. You can also drink sports drinks, that are great at replenishing electrolytes that are lost while sweating.
c. If you suspect that you are suffering from possible heat stroke or sun stroke , do not drink alcohol. Alcohol raises the body’s temperature.
2. Symptoms of too much heat can be dizziness, fatigue, feeling faint, headaches or body cramps and feeling extremely thirsty.
a. Do not exercises at peak heat times of the day. Stick with early mornings or late evenings after the sun has started to set.
b. Wear loose fitting and light colored clothing. If you must be out in the sun, make use of a broad rimmed hat or use an umbrella for shading your head.
c. Eat frequently and consume low calorie, low fat meals. If at all possible avoid using your oven or any other device that will raise the temperature inside
d. Rest during the hottest times of the day if at all possible.
3. Under no circumstances should you leave pets or children in cars alone or with windows rolled up. It is illegal and deadly.
4. Keep your a/c on and your heavy duty appliances off until after five o’clock in the evening. If you have a fan keep it on to circulate the air throughout your house. A fan will cause the evaporation of sweat and lower your body temperature making you feel cooler.
5. Check on elderly neighbors or relatives during heat waves. Many of these people have lost their ability to accurately feel the heat and continue to wear sweaters or will refuse to use their a/c or a fan to stay cool. Many cities offer free cooling centers for people who do not have or cannot afford to keep their homes cool.
6. Keep your baby or small child hydrated by offering water often. Make sure that a baby or small child is wetting at least six diapers during a 24 hour period. Dress them as you dress yourself. Avoid overdressing them. Keep them out of the direct sun.
a. Use sunblock on older children or babies frequently.
b. Keep their heads covered with a brimmed hat and teach them to use sunglasses.
c. When leaving your car make sure to cover your child’s car seat with a towel or other device to keep metal buckles from burning your child.
d. Use a sunshade to keep interior temperatures of your car a bit cooler. Sunshades do make a difference.
More severe physical symptoms of heat stroke or heat exhaustion can cause irreversible brain damage or even death. Seek medical help immediately if you or a loved one, neighbor or friend,suffers from any of the following symptoms.
b. Pale or clammy skin.
c. Rapid or weak pulse.
d. Fast or shallow breathing.
There are many activities that you can do to have fun and keep your cool in the summer time. Visiting museums or public libraries is fun and most often air conditioned. Go to the movies. Visit a neighborhood shopping mall or that great discount store that you have always wanted to check out. Take a leisurely trek through your local grocery store or Wal-Mart. Take the kids to the local pool, just make sure to use plenty of sunblock and drink lots of fluids.Save trips to amusement parks and other outdoor venues for cooler days, or visit in evening hours. Hot summer days will pass and cooler days will be here before you know it.