How to stay safe and cool during a scorching summer
Summer is here. Step outside and there is no question that summer’s heat and humidity are definitely here. And, with the heat, come certain dangers that we should protect ourselves against.
As part of my personal fitness regimen I enjoy cycling and lately find myself riding early in the morning to avoid the extreme mid-day temperatures.
As temperatures and humidity go up, so does the risk of heat-related illness. I encourage everyone to be mindful of the heat when enjoying outside activities as heat exhaustion is a serious problem, and heat stroke can be fatal.
As the temperatures rise you should be aware of the symptoms of heat illness that include heavy sweating, muscle cramps, weakness, dizziness, nausea, weak but rapid pulse and headaches.
One of the first ways to avoid getting sick is to remain hydrated. To avoid getting dehydrated, it’s important to drink plenty of fluids, especially water, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Avoid beverages that contain alcohol or caffeine.
Remaining hydrated is particularly important on days when temperatures reach 90 degrees and higher. Staying hydrated will help your body set and maintain a normal body temperature.
Just as I have done, you should exercise in the cool morning or evening hours, avoiding midday heat. Stay indoors during the heat of the day and limit your exposure to sun.
Wear loose-fitting, lightweight clothing and lighter colors which will help reflect heat and keep you cooler. You may also want to apply sunscreen and wear a wide brimmed hat to shade your face and neck.
If you are going to be outdoors for an extended time, take frequent breaks.
During the long hot days of summer it is also important that we look out for others that may be at risk for heat-illness.
Never leave a person or pet in a closed, parked vehicle, even for a short time. If you have a child in the back seat, always put something you will need when you get out of the car in the backseat so you will not forget your child.
Practice being a good neighbor and check on any elderly or chronically ill people who may be severely affected by heat.
The risk for heat-related illness and deaths is higher for infants and the elderly, whose internal thermostats do not regulate their body temperatures well.
By reducing excessive exposure, and taking precautionary steps, most heat-related illnesses can be avoided. After all, here at The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston we don’t want to see you in our emergency room; we want to see you enjoying a healthy, fun-filled summer.