Beat the Heat!

By Riva Preil

During these hot and humid summer days, it’s important to be mindful of taking appropriate precautions to stay healthy. Unfortunately, hundreds of deaths occur in the United States annually due to extreme heat. Taking the proper precautions to ensure summer safety is crucial.

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Sweating is our body’s natural cooling process.  Heat is carried away from the surface of the body as sweat evaporates from the skin which decreases one’s body temperature.  When sweating alone is not able to restore the body’s homeostatic balance, one is at risk for developing hyperthermia (elevated body temperature), a dangerous condition which can impair brain, heart, or other organ function. Untreated hyperthermia can cause heat cramps (painful muscle tightening), heat edema (ankle and foot swelling), heat exhaustion (characterized by dizziness, thirst, nausea, and weakness), and in worst case scenarios, heat stroke (body temperature elevation to 104 degrees or higher, potentially fatal).

Scary, no?  But preventable? YES!  Please make sure to keep your cool in the following ways:

  • Take breaks from the sun, especially in air conditioned rooms

  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate…especially with water.  Remember that alcohol and coffee DEhydrate, so please drink 2 cups of water for every 1 cup of coffee or alcohol.

  • Wear light colored and loose fitting clothes

  • Shower or bathe in cool water

  • Pull the curtains or blinds CLOSED during the hottest, sunniest parts of the day

A little common sense goes a long way…good luck beating the heat in the safest way possible!

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