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Beat the Heat


This time of year we must all be aware of the fact that these high temperatures can be deadly.

First and foremost, be extra cautious about leaving children or pets in the car. Sometimes people forget, especially when they can't see or hear the baby in the back seat. This happens when an infant is asleep in a rear-facing car seat in the back seat.

Also, sometimes parents knowingly leave a child in a hot car, thinking the child will be fine because the child will "only be in there a minute." But of course, that's too long. Even when you're driving, be mindful of the fact that it's hotter in the back seat and make whatever adjustments to the windows or air conditioning to prevent passengers in the back seat from overheating.

Also this time of year, don't leave a pet in the car, not even if the windows are cracked.

People die from the heat every summer. Usually they are people who are already weak: the elderly, the very young, or people whose health is compromised in some other way. Heat deaths also occur when healthy people, such as athletes, are pushed beyond their limit in the searing temperatures.

The best way to protect yourself from the heat is to stay inside, in an air conditioned building as much as possible. Movies, malls, roller skating or even ice skating are a few ideas.

The real trouble comes when a person doesn't have air conditioning. Oftentimes elderly folks either don't have it or don't turn it on because they don't want to spend the extra money for electricity. To make matters worse, sometimes these same people are also afraid of being a crime victim, so they won't even open the windows! If you don't believe me, just watch the news. It happens a lot.

So please, if you know of an elderly person or couple, a neighbor, church members, certainly a relative, CHECK ON THEM!

At the very least, make sure they have a fan. Sometimes municipalities give away box fans for free to the needy, so check with your local government if money is the problem. You can intensify the effects of the fan by putting a pan of ice water in front of it, or putting ice in towel suspended between two chairs in front of the fan.

So often the best thing for the elderly or sick without air conditioning is to take them to a local cooling station. Most cities have air-conditioned places, often senior centers that are free and open to the public to stay for the day. There are televisions and cots and games, etc. Call your local city hall to find out where yours is located. Sometimes they will even provide transportation

There are many ways to cool off at night if you don't have air conditioning. If it's safe, open the windows and try to get a cross-breeze going. Also sleep downstairs, because heat rises.

Sleep nude! Hey, it's cooler that way.

Take a cool bath or shower before bed and don't dry off completely. Put several wet cloths in the refrigerator, and when you wake up, wipe it over your body, paying particular attention to your writs and armpits. If you wear pajamas, go as light as you can and get them damp before you go to bed. Sleep "spread eagle" style so your limbs don't get too hot.

During the day, if you have to be outside in the heat, the top three things to remember are: frequent breaks, shade and water. Hopefully you can do all three together...take frequent breaks in the shade with water.

Make sure to drink water all day and night when it's hot. You want to remain hydrated all the time. In fact, if you are thirsty, that means you are aready dehydrated. So drink water even when you are not thirsty to stay a step ahead of the heat.

Stay away from caffeine, which dehydrates, and sugar, which impedes the cooling process.

Wear loose, light-colored, 100-percent cotton clothing.

Exercise outside in the early morning or evening, avoiding the heat of the day.

Go to the beach or the pool and get in the water! Just make sure to reapply that sunscreen....we don't want to get skin cancer. But that's a blog for another day.

Print     Email to a Friend    posted on Friday, July 19, 2013 12:08 PM



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