MAN, It’s Hot! Avoiding Heat Distress…

As I write this, record temperatures are being set all over the United States. The predicted high for Central Indiana today is: 103F. When temperatures hit record level highs, precautions should be taken.

Avoid Overheating Your Body

Stay inside as much as possible. If you’re without air conditioning, take cool showers or baths to lower your body temperature. When indoors, stay on lowest floor, cooler air floats down. Eat well-balanced light meals and lower your protein intake. Avoid strenuous activity, especially in the hottest parts of the day and keep hydrated. As we age, our bodies don’t retain liquids as well as when we were younger. For additional sun safety and a heat info, check out almanac.com.

Protect Yourself From the Sun

When outdoors, use sunscreen (at least SP15). Wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing and cover as much of your body as possible. A wide rimmed hat can also protect you from direct sunlight. Sunglasses without a minimum rating of UV400 may not protect you from harmful ultra violet rays. Limit alcohol and caffeine consumption – both dehydrate your body. Whenever possible, seek shade. Avoiding direct sunlight can also protect you from skin cancer.

Watch for Signs of Heat Distress

Hot, dry, or clammy skin may be a sign of a heat disorder. Cramps and heavy sweating may signal the beginning of heat exhaustion, and high body temperature, irregular heart beat, or shallow breathing could be the early stages of heat stroke.

One Last Caution

Every year, we read about or watch newscasts about children, the elderly, or pets being left in closed automobiles. According to pediatrics.about.com, temperatures can rise quickly to 120-140F or more. Since 1998, 495 children have perished in closed vehicles, and in 2010, 49 lost their lives. Never leave anyone or any pet in a closed automobile.

While it seems many overreact to the ever-changing weather conditions, it’s often easy to underestimate the dangers of extreme heat, so pay attention to your body, the conditions around you, and be prepared.