The Hidden Dangers of Summer

Summer is here and as the temperature is heating up the incidence of heat related conditions increases. More people die each year from heat stroke than from all natural disasters combined. See the information below and stay cool.  Don’t miss the tips on how to survive hot summer nights without AC!

The Hidden Dangers of Summer

Each year many people suffer from heat related illnesses which are completely
preventable.  The following are some tips and guidelines to help you recognize and manage heat related problems.
           
Heatstroke is usually caused by exposure to the sun’s rays or extreme heat. It is characterized by high body temperature, usually higher than 105°F, skin is red hot and dry, cessation of sweating, headache, numbness, tingling and confusion prior to sudden delirium or coma, fast pulse, rapid breathing, and usually elevated blood pressure.   Seek immediate medical help for this life threatening condition.

Effective therapy may be lifesaving and includes cooling the body temperature with an ice water bath, wet sheets, fanning or removing hot clothing is the most important treatment.
           
Heat exhaustion is characterized by weakness, produced by the loss of normal fluids and sodium chloride (salt), dizziness, nausea, headache and finally collapse. Skin is cold and clammy with profuse sweating. Body temperature usually is normal, blood pressure may be decreased. The treatment is similar, remove to a cool place, loosen hot clothes, and in addition salt tablets, fruit juices or intravenous saline may be required.
           
Heat cramps (another heat related condition) are acute painful spasms of voluntary muscles following hard work in a hot environment without adequate fluid and salt intake.
 
To help prevent heat related conditions remember to:

  1. Stay cool: Wear cool loose clothing, use a hat, use a water mister or wet clothing and go indoors periodically to cool down. Exercise early or late in the day or inside on hot days.
  2. Hydrate: Plenty of water is necessary for our bodies to perspire. As perspiration evaporates, our skin is cooled down.
  3. Replenish electrolytes: As we perspire, we lose fluids and electrolytes (sodium, potassium, chlorine). Smoothies made with fruit, fruit drinks, and sports drinks can help replace electrolytes.

Tips to Survive Hot Summer Nights Without AC!

  1. Choose cotton. Save the satin, silk, or polyester sheets for cooler nights.
  2. Feel the freezer burn. Stick sheets in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes before bed.
  3. Get cold comfort. Bring bed-friendly ice pack to sleep with you!
  4. Use fans. Point box fans out the windows so they push hot air out, and adjust ceiling fan settings so the blades run counter-clockwise, pulling hot air up and out instead of just twirling it around the room.
  5. Get loose. Less is definitely more when it comes to summertime jammies. Pick a loose, soft cotton shirt and shorts or underwear.
  6. Create a cross-breeze. Position a fan across from a window, so the wind from outside and the fan combine in a cooling cross-breeze.
  7. Pamper your pulses. Need to cool down, stat? To chill out super-fast, apply ice packs or cold compresses to pulse points at the wrists, neck, elbows, groin, ankles, and behind the knees.
  8. Stay away from the stove. Instead, chow down on cool, room-temperature dishes to avoid generating any more heat in the house. If hot food is in order, fire up the grill instead of turning on the oven. And swap big meals for smaller, lighter dinners that are easier to metabolize.
  9. Fill up the tank. Get a leg up on hydration by drinking a glass of water before bed. Tossing and turning and sweating at night can result in dehydration, so get some H20 in the tank beforehand.
  10. Cool off. A cold shower takes on a whole new meaning come summertime. Rinsing off under a stream of tepid H20 brings down the core body temperature and rinses off sweat so you can hit the hay feeling cool and clean.
  11. Turn off the lights. Light bulbs (even environmentally-friendly CFLs) give off heat. Take advantage of natural light as much as possible, and keep rooms cool after dark by using lights minimally or not at all.
  12. Encourage cold feet. Those ten little piggies are pretty sensitive to temperature because there are lots of pulse points in the feet and ankles.
  13. Unplug at night. As in, literally disconnect electronics. Gadgets and other small appliances give off heat, even when turned off. Reduce total heat in the house (and save energy!) by keeping plugs out of sockets when the appliances are not in use.
  14. Get creative with grains. Rice and buckwheat aren’t just for eating! These cupboard staples can also keep you cool on hot nights. Stock up on buckwheat pillows, which don’t absorb heat like cotton and down. And for a cold compress on really hot nights, fill a sock with rice, tie it off, and stick it in the freezer for an hour or so. The compress will stay chilly for up to 30 minutes, definitely enough time to nod off.

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