5 Ways to Beat the Heat This Summer

Whether this summer ends up being a true scorcher or one with even an average amount of heat, there will inevitably be at least a handful of days when the temperature will scale oppressively uncomfortable and perhaps even dangerous levels.iStock_000015360270XSmall

In advance of those sweltering days, it is always worthwhile to review fundamental tips for staying cool and healthy in that environment, as well as to dispel certain myths about heat and heat safety.

The Red Cross offers these tips for staying safe on hot summer days:

  • Dress for the heat. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing. Light colors will reflect away some of the sun’s energy. Wear hats or to use an umbrella.
  • Drink water. Carry water or juice with you and drink continuously even if you are not thirsty. Avoid alcohol and caffeine, which dehydrate the body. Avoid using salt tablets unless directed to do so by a physician.
  • Eat small meals and eat more often. Avoid high-protein foods, which increase metabolic heat.
  • Slow down. Avoid strenuous activity. If you must do strenuous activity, do it during the coolest part of the day, either before 7 a.m. or in the evening.
  • Stay indoors when possible. If air conditioning is not available, stay on the lowest floor out of the sunshine.  Remember that electric fans simply circulate the air, rather than cool the air.

An hour before going out into the heat, doctors advise that you should drink fluids and apply sunscreen. The sunscreen needs time to adhere and attach to the pores. If you apply the sunscreen after you’ve started sweating, it doesn’t adhere.

Even if you are going to spend most of the time indoors–even in air conditioning–drinking more fluids than usual on hot days is still essential. Air conditioning is a dehumidifier. It sucks out the moisture in the air and creates a dry, desert environment inside, so you still need to drink more, even if the temperature is more temperate inside than it is outdoors.

And, while drinking water is certainly more advisable than drinking diuretics like caffeine or especially alcohol, water alone may not be sufficient. Water itself without the other electrolytes you need can create an imbalance, which is why rehydration formulas like sports drinks are also helpful for hydration on hot days.

Particular caution should be exercised when the temperature reaches 90, and folks should also keep track of the heat index, a reading that factors in the relative humidity. Heat indices might surpass the dangerous 100-degree level even if the actual air temperature is lower than that.  So when the mercury starts to rise, stay out of the sun and hydrate properly!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please prove you are human by solving the phrase below.