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Beat the Heat

02 Aug Education | Comments Off on Beat the Heat
Beat the Heat
 

Summer heat waves such as the one the Pacific Northwest is currently experiencing bring unusually high temperatures that may last from only a few days to a few weeks. In 1980 are particularly severe heat wave was responsible for approximately 1,700 heat-related fatalities in the United States. People suffering heat-related illness when the body’s temperature control system is overwhelmed. Under normal conditions the body is able to cool itself by simply sweating however under certain environmental and/r medical conditions sweating alone is inadequate leading to an individual’s body temperature to rise rapidly, if left unchecked for too long high body temperatures may damage the brain and lead to multi-organ failure. Those at the highest risk of experiencing a heat-related illness include:

  • Infants and children under the age of four
  • Seniors 65 years old and older
  • Overweight individuals
  • Individuals who overexert during work or exercise
  • Individuals who are ill, taking certain medications

Beat the heat and stay healthy by following these guidelines.

DRINK PLENTY OF FLUIDS

It is necessary to increase your fluid intake in warm weather regardless of activity level. During heavy exercise in a hot environment it has been suggested by the CDC to drink a minimum of 16-32 oz of cool fluids per hour. During hot weather your body’s need for water will likely outpace one’s thirst, this is especially true for individuals 65 years old and older. Be aware that very cold beverages may result in stomach cramps if consumed too quickly, it is best to spread out the time spent re-hydrating by taking smaller sips over a longer period of time especially if you are participating in more strenuous activities in the heat or if you are prone to stomach cramps. Additionally avoid alcoholic beverages as alcohol will cause you to lose more fluid.

If your doctor has prescribed a fluid-restricted diet or diuretics you should ask your doctor how much fluid yo should consume during hot weather.

 

REPLACE SALT and MINERALS

Sweating removes salt and minerals from the body. These salts and minerals are normally replaced through your normal diet however when sweating becomes more severe it may become necessary to drink fruit juices or sports beverages . Do not take salt tablets unless directed by your doctor to do so.

If your doctor has order a salt-restricted diet you should ask your doctor before you change your diet -especially before consuming sports drinks.

 

WEAR APPROPRIATE CLOTHING 

Wear as little clothing as possible when you are at home. Choose lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. A wide-brimmed hat and a neckerchief dipped in cool water can also keep one’s-self cool when braving the elements.

 

WEAR SUNSCREEN

Aside from protecting you from the harmful UV rays that often lead to skin cancer. Sunscreen protects against sunburn which causes skin irritation and pain. For maximum protect use a minimum of SPF 15 and apply approximately 30 minutes prior to sun exposure and re-apply as instructed per packaging/instructions.

 

PACE YOURSELF

Working in a hot environment takes time to get accustomed to, start slow and pick up the pace gradually. If exertion in the heat makes your heart pound and leaves you short of breath, STOP all activity and get to a cool area or the shade and rest; this is especially true if you become lightheaded, confused, weak or faint.

 

STAY COOL INDOORS

The most obvious not to mention most effective way to beat the heat is to stay in an air-conditioned area. If you are not part of the fortunate 1/3 of Washingtonians with air conditioning in your home do not fear, taking a trip to the mall, store, grocery store, restaurant, or other business during the hottest hours of the day will let you escape the heat. Oftentimes planning ahead to perform errands and schedule appointments during the afternoon when your home is the hottest can help reduce the risks of heat-illness. Electric fans can be useful to draw cool air into ones home during the evening to early morning, be advised that fans shouldn’t be used a a primary cooling device during a heat wave as once temperatures reach the high 90’s or higher the fan won’t be able to prevent heat related illness. Cool showers and baths are an effective way to cool off. Avoid cooking with an oven to maintain a cooler temperature and remember that heat rises meaning it may be significantly cooler in a basement or ground floor.