Hot Weather Preps

While it sure doesn’t seem like it around here in the upper Midwest, we are approaching summer. With it will come high temperatures and sticky humidity in much of the country. Hyperthermia, which is the medical term for when your body temperature gets too high and won’t come down, can be quite dangerous. Fortunately, there are a few common sense things you can do to help prevent it.

First, avoid doing physical work during the hottest part of the day. Typically, it is the time frame from around 2PM-5PM that is the worst, though that will vary from location to location. Get up early and get as many outside chores done as possible before the heat gets unbearable. Use the afternoon hours to rest or work inside if your home is air conditioned or at least cooler than the outside. Finish up the outdoor stuff after the sun goes down.

If you’re working outside, take advantage of shaded areas. If nothing else, consider rigging up an umbrella where you’re working. The idea here is to keep the sun from shining directly on you. Wearing a wide brimmed hat will help quite a bit, too.

Wear sunscreen. I can’t stress that enough. Sunburn is not only painful, it can lead to serious skin damage.

It is important to stay hydrated. Drink lots of water, more than you think you need. Avoid coffee, tea, and soda when working outside as all of them are diuretics, meaning they’ll just make you pee more often and thus you’ll lose hydration. Pay attention to the color of your urine. The darker it is, the more dehydrated you are.

Remember that evaporation is a cooling process. That’s why we sweat. The moisture on our skin evaporates and cools us down. That’s the plan, anyway. You can help this along by wearing loose fitting clothing made of a breathable material like cotton. Light colors are best as they will reflect some of the sun’s energy, rather than soaking it in like dark colors.

A bandana soaked in water and draped around your neck will help cool you off. As the water evaporates, it cools the blood flowing through your neck, which circulates through your body. You can get a similar effect by dampening your inner wrists and letting the water evaporate.

Watch for warning signs of hyperthermia. These include:

      • Dark urine
      • Headache
      • Cramps or aching muscles
      • Nausea or vomiting
      • Confusion
      • Seizures

If you see these symptoms, act quickly. Move the person into a cooler area, even if the best you can do is putting them in the shade. As best you can, have them sip water. Don’t let them just down the whole water bottle in a single gulp as that will just make them sick. Slow and easy is best. Dampen their head, neck, and wrists to help cool them down. Don’t use ice, just cool water will work fine.

Pay attention to your body. It will tell you when something is amiss. Keep cool this summer and enjoy the nice weather when you can.

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