Summer’s here, and with the sweltering heat, Southlanders are seeking ways to stay cool.
Experts say that even short exposure to extreme heat can have harmful effects on the body–causing heat exhaustion, dehydration, heat stroke, or worse. If you cannot avoid going outdoors, use the following precautions to avoid heat related illnesses:
Drink water – Carry water or juice with you and drink continuously even if you do not feel thirsty. Eat popsicles and other cool items. Avoid alcohol and caffeine, which dehydrate the body.
Dress for the heat- – Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing. Light colors will reflect away some of the sun’s energy. It is also a good idea to wear hats or to use an umbrella.
Slow down – Avoid strenuous activity. If you must do strenuous activity on warm days, take time out to find a cool place. If you or someone else experiences symptoms of a heat-related illness, stop activity and find a cool place to rest. If it is very hot, don’t beat yourself up if you aren’t accomplishing anything–you won’t have the energy to do much else. When it is hot, your body is lethargic. Don’t try to push it.
Avoid heating up the kitchen – If you can, do not cook in your home or do anything that creates heat. Once you put heat in your home, it is hard to get rid of. Make sandwiches or prepare a cool salad instead. Take your crockpot outside and plug it into an outside circuit if you can.
Eat small meals – Eat smaller meals and eat more often. Avoid foods that are high in protein which increase metabolic heat.
Keep lights off – Keep lights off as much as possible. Anything that plugs in may be generating heat. Do the “touch test” around your home. Anything that feels warm, unplug it.