The following are two of the Chesprocott’s Healthy Communities Coalition Health Tips, being offered by the Health District on a weekly basis throughout 2018:
Summer is still in bloom and the temperatures promise to top out in the 90s a few more times before fall arrives. To prepare, residents should remember to do the following in order to protect against heat exhaustion:
Wear Appropriate Clothing: Choose lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
Stay Cool Indoors: Stay in an air-conditioned place as much as possible. If your home does not have air conditioning, go to the shopping mall or public library—even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat. Call your local health department to see if there are any heat-relief shelters in your area.
Keep in mind that electric fans may provide comfort but, when the temperature is in the high 90s, they 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. Use your stove and oven less to maintain a cooler temperature in your home.
Schedule Outdoor Activities Carefully: Try to limit your outdoor activity to when it’s coolest, like morning and evening hours. Rest often in shady areas so that your body has a chance to recover.
Pace Yourself: Cut down on exercise during the heat. If you’re not accustomed to working or exercising in a hot environment, start slowly and pick up the pace gradually. If exertion in the heat makes your heart pound and leaves you gasping for breath, stop all activity. Get into a cool area or into the shade, and rest, especially if you become lightheaded, confused, weak, or faint.
Wear Sunscreen: Sunburn affects your body’s ability to cool down and can make you dehydrated. If you must go outdoors, protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat, 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.
Look for sunscreens that say “broad spectrum” or “UVA/UVB protection” on their labels as these products work best.
Do Not Leave Children in Cars: Cars can quickly heat up to dangerous temperatures, even with a window cracked open. While anyone left in a parked car is at risk, children are especially in danger of getting a heat stroke or of dying. When traveling with children, remember to 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 may have fallen asleep in the car.
Avoid Hot and Heavy Meals: They add heat to your body!
Heat-related illnesses are common this time of year. It’s important to know both the symptoms and what to do when the first signs of a serious medical issue occur:
- High body temperature
- Hot, red, dry or damp skin
- Fast, strong pulse
- Loss of consciousness
What to do
- Call 9-1-1 right away, as heat stroke is a medical emergency.
- Move the person to a cooler place.
- Help lower the person’s temperature with cool cloths or a cool bath.
- Do not give the person anything to drink.
- Heavy sweating
- Cold, pale, clammy skin
- Fast, weak pulse
- Nausea or vomiting
- Muscle cramps
- Tiredness or weakness
What to do
- Move to a cool place.
- Loosen clothing.
- Put cool, wet cloths on your body or take a cool bath.
- Sip water.
- Get medical help right away if:
- You are throwing up.
- Your symptoms get worse.
- Your symptoms last longer than one hour.
- Heavy sweating during intense exercise
- Muscle pain or spasms
What to do
- Stop physical activity and move to a cool place.
- Drink water or a sports drink.
- Wait for cramps to go away before you do any more physical activity.
- Get medical attention right away if:
- Cramps last longer than one hour.
- You’re on a low-sodium diet.
- You have heart problems.
- Painful, red and warm skin
- Blisters on the skin
What to do
- Stay out of the sun until your sunburn heals.
- Put cool cloths on sunburned areas or take a cool bath.
- Put moisturizing lotion on sunburned areas.
- Do not break blisters.
- Red clusters of small blisters that look like pimples on the skin, usually on the neck, chest, groin or elbow creases.
What to do
- Stay in a cool, dry place.
- Keep the rash dry.
- Use powder, like baby powder, to soothe the rash.
You may be counting calories for every bite you eat, but are you keeping track of what you drink? Water is the perfect calorie-free beverage. Water helps maximize physical performance, can help treat headaches, can assist with weight loss, and has many other benefits. Fill a clean, reusable water bottle and toss it in your bag or brief case to quench your thirst throughout the day.
Drinking sugary beverages can increase weight gain, lower good cholesterol, lead to the development of Type II diabetes, and cause tooth decay and heart disease.
Ways to drink more water every day include:
- Add flavor: fresh fruit/veggies/herbs.
- Drink a glass after every bathroom break.
- Drink a glass before every meal.
- Keep track of your cups with an app—“Daily Water Free”
- Keep a gallon jug nearby.
- Buy a filter for your kitchen sink/portable bottle.
- Drink one glass of water for every cocktail/alcoholic beverage.