If you are from the Lou then you already know how our weather gets down. People are often shocked to find just how hot and humid it can be here. If you are visiting or just need to be reminded here are a few tips to help you get through this super scorcher and more to come this summer. Stay safe!!!
The Centers for Disease Control offer these basic recommendations that will help prevent heat stroke, sun stroke, dehydration and other potentially dangerous situations that easily develop in times of extreme heat:
1. Do not leave children or pets in cars.
Even in cool temperatures, cars can heat up to dangerous temperatures very quickly. Interior temperatures can rise almost 20 degrees within the first 10 minutes, even with car windows left open. Anyone left inside is at risk for serious heat-related illnesses or even death. Children who are left unattended in parked cars are at greatest risk for heat stroke and possibly death. When traveling with children, remember to do the following:
• Never leave infants, children or pets in a parked car, even if the windows are cracked open.
• To remind yourself that a child is in the car, keep a stuffed animal in the car seat. When the child is buckled in, place the stuffed animal in the front with the driver.
• When leaving your car, check to be sure everyone is out of the car. Do not overlook any children who have fallen asleep in the car.
2. Drink plenty of fluids.
Make sure to avoid alcoholic beverages and liquids high in sugar or caffeine. During hot weather, you will need to increase your fluid intake, regardless of your activity level. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.
3. Wear appropriate clothing and sunscreen.
Choose lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. Although we know small amounts of sun exposure can be beneficial for Vitamin D, overexposure can lead to dangerous sunburn.
If you must go outdoors, protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat (also keeps you cooler) along with sunglasses, and by putting on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher 30 minutes prior to going out. Continue to reapply it according to the package directions.
4. Stay cool indoors.
Stay indoors and, if at all possible, stay in an air-conditioned place. If your home does not have air conditioning, go to the shopping mall or public library. Electric fans may provide comfort, but when the temperature is in the high 90s, fans will not prevent heat-related illness. Taking a cool shower or bath or moving to an air-conditioned place is a much better way to cool off.
5. Schedule outdoor activities carefully.
If you must be outdoors, try to limit your outdoor activity to morning and evening hours.
Try to rest often in shady areas so that your body’s thermostat will have a chance to recover.
6. Pace yourself.
If you are not accustomed to working or exercising in a hot environment, start slowly and pick up the pace gradually. Make sure to rest often in shady areas. If exertion in the heat makes your heart pound and leaves you gasping for breath, stop all activity. Get into a cool area or at least into the shade, and rest, especially if you become lightheaded, confused or weak.
7. Monitor the news.
Listen to the news and public announcements for heat advisories.
8. Use a buddy system.
When working in the heat, monitor the condition of your co-workers and have someone do the same for you. Heat-induced illness can cause a person to become confused or lose consciousness. If you are 65 or older, have a friend or relative call to check on you twice a day during a heat wave.
9. Monitor those at high risk.
Although anyone at any time can suffer from heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others.
• Infants and children up to 4 years old are sensitive to the effects of high temperatures and rely on others to regulate their environments and provide adequate liquids.
• People 65 or older may not compensate for heat stress efficiently and are less likely to sense and respond to change in temperature.
• People who are overweight may be prone to heat sickness because of their tendency to retain more body heat.
• People who overexert during work or exercise may become dehydrated and susceptible to heat sickness.
• People who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure, or who take certain medications, such as for depression, insomnia or poor circulation, may be affected by extreme heat.
Plan to check on family, friends, and neighbors—especially the elderly who do not have air conditioning or who spend much of their time alone.
10. Adjust to the environment.
Be aware that any sudden change in temperature, such as an early summer heat wave, will be stressful to your body. You will have a greater tolerance for heat if you limit your physical activity until you become accustomed to the heat.
For more tips on summer heat precautions, you can check out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site at cdc.gov.