The heat has been the topic of both conversation and local news for several days. Even those of us who prefer warmer climates are not enjoying this extreme.
We all know that extended exposure to heat can have serious, life-threatening consequences. I'd like to share with you a bit of information on some unique situations that involve heat-related incidents and possibly dispel some of the myths surrounding things you thought would keep you cool.
For this information, I turned to our friends at the CDC for some helpful advice.
- style="margin-left: 40px;">When the surrounding air is over 90 degrees, one of our first desires is to get in front of a fan for a while, but this temporary relief can be very misleading, because you are still being exposed to hot air. It's recommended that you either get into an air conditioned environment or, if that isn't an option, take a cool shower. Immersing in any cool water will help lower your body temperature.
- style="margin-left: 40px;">I know that when I'm working outside in the heat, nothing sounds better than a cold drink. And the colder, the better! But this isn't recommended according to the CDC. I'm told that if your internal body temperature is elevated, ingesting ice cold fluid can cause cramping. In some cases that can happen very quickly and be very intense. To remain hydrated, just drink cool or room-temperature fluid. Your body benefits from the fluid itself, not the temperature of the fluid.
- style="margin-left: 40px;">On the topic of remaining hydrated, remember to stay away from alcoholic beverages or any drinks high in sugar content. When your internal body temp is elevated, both type of drinks actually cause your body to loose more fluid.
- style="margin-left: 40px;">Drinking water is an absolute must when you're in the heat. If fluid is perspiring out of your system, that fluid must be replaced. Also, a note for those visiting desert environments such as in the Southwest - in a dry heat, your body will not perspire the way you're used to. That does not mean that you don't need water. Continue to hydrate while in the heat, even if your skin is dry.
- style="margin-left: 40px;">And, from the CDC website: Do not wait until you’re thirsty to drink.
Warning: If your doctor generally limits the amount of fluid you drink or has you on water pills, ask your doctor how much you should drink while the weather is hot.
- style="margin-left: 40px;">Finally, never leave a person or animal in a closed vehicle in the heat. It seems like common sense, right? But children and animals are still dying every summer from this exact mistake. Some people are more susceptible to heat-related injury, so even if they want to remain the the parking lot, encourage these folks to come indoors. Those would be:
- - Infants and young children
- - People aged 65 or older
- - People who have a mental illness
- - Those who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure
There is no doubt that summer is here! Have a great one, while paying attention to your safety, and stay cool!