With what seems to be one of the hottest and muggiest summers in recent memory, being aware of the dangers surrounding excessive heat might actually save your life
. In addition to the deadly heat waves across the country that have claimed hundreds of lives already, there are many other ways the heat can be dangerous. Here are a few things to look out for this summer.Exercise with Caution
While the heat shouldn’t cause you to completely eliminate your exercise routine, you may have to modify a few things. Avoid working out in direct sunlight, and if possible, try to exercise in the early morning or late evening when the temperatures are cooler. Stay Hydrated – But Drink the Right Stuff
This might seem obvious, but if you feel yourself overheating, sweating excessively, or just exhausted from the heat, you are probably dehydrated and need to drink fluids
. Drinking plenty of fluids is important to staying hydrated and allowing your body’s cooling process to work correctly; but what you drink can have a large impact on just how hydrated you will be. While a deliciously cold iced coffee may sound fabulous and refreshing during a long summer day, coffee can be very dehydrating . . . just like any other drink containing caffeine, alcohol or sugar. Instead, reach for sports drinks that contain plenty of electrolytes, or the tried and true plain old water. Children and Mentally Disabled Beware
Each year, close to 50 children lose their lives because they were left unsupervised in a vehicle. Even if you are just “going to be right back” and are sure you won’t take long, think twice before leaving your child in the car. Even with the windows cracked, the temperature inside of a car can quickly reach 125 degrees within minutes
. To make matters worse, a child’s body temperature can rise 3-5 times faster than adults, making them even more susceptible to rapidly changing temperatures. If you see a child or pet locked in a car and you can’t free them, call 911 as soon as possible.
Patients with mental illnesses are also more susceptible to heat-related health problems and death, for a number of reasons. For one, many medications make them more prone to heat stroke
, and a prolonged exposure to heat could result in medication toxicity. If you have a loved one in a live-in mental care facility, be extra cautious. Patients may not have air conditioners in their rooms, and without proper supervision might not drink enough fluids to stay properly hydrated. Wear Sunscreen – Even on Cloudy Days
You don’t have to be at a beach to get sunburned
. In fact, the sky doesn’t even have to be clear and sunny for you to be affected. Many serious burns have occurred on cloudy days, because people believe the misconception that the clouds protect against the sun’s harmful UV rays. Ultraviolet A rays (UVA) are a product not just of direct sun but of all natural light, capable of reaching the skin through glass, clouds and smog. Use plenty of sunscreen during the summertime, even on a seemingly overcast day.Cited Sources
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