Hot weather forecast: Take care of yourself
By CATHY BROWNFIELD
Family Recovery Center publicist
LISBON – The crazy, hazy, lazy days of summer are just ahead. Heat and humidity are in the forecast. Cookouts, swim meets and all of those other warm weather activities you enjoy are in the works. But take care of yourself when the extreme heat comes on. High heat is 85 degrees and higher, especially during times of high humidity.
Generally speaking, everyone should eat regular meals and drink plenty of liquids. Beverages to avoid include coffee, tea, sodas and alcohol which will dehydrate you. If you want flavor in your water, add your favorite fruit to the pitcher of water.
Those hottest days are best spent in a controlled environment. If you don’t have an air conditioner to keep your home cool, it may be the day to go to the public library, your favorite shopping place or in a nice shady place away from concrete and asphalt.
Early in the day you can open the windows and let the cool air in. But when the sun rises into the sky and the temperature begins to rise quickly, close the windows and the window coverings until the heat of the day has passed. If you are overweight, lose some of that weight. A cool shower or bath can be very soothing.
If you have to be outside, wear light, loose clothing, avoid direct sunlight, use sunscreen, hat and sunglasses for your protection. Remember, too, that concrete and paved surfaces will be hotter than grassy areas and shade trees.
Heat stroke and heat exhaustion are potential risks. If you have a health condition or take certain medications you can be affected by extreme heat. Alcoholism, diabetes, heart disease, and respiratory disease can turn a sunny, summer day into a critical event when the body overheats.
Heat exhaustion can happen without warning and at any time. You are at higher risk of heat exhaustion if you don’t drink enough of the right liquids. You can drink a cup of coffee or a glass of sweet tea, but for every cup of coffee or tea you drink, you should drink an equal amount of water to replace the fluids you will lose because of the dehydration related to those beverages. Coffee is a diuretic.
Warning signs of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, muscle cramps, nausea/vomiting, paleness, tiredness or fainting, weakness, dizziness and headache.
In the event of heat exhaustion you should move to a cooler place, drink water or other hydrating beverages, loosen clothing. You should use a cool, damp cloth to sponge bath the person suffering the event. A cool shower or bath will help, too.
Worse than heat exhaustion is heat stroke which also is deadly. It is the most serious heat-related condition. Because the body can’t control its temperature which continues to go up. How do you know if someone is having a heat stroke? Is their skin red, hot and dry? Do they have a throbbing headache? A rapid, strong pulse? Is the body temperature higher than 103 degrees F? Is the person confused? Did they lose consciousness? Are they dizzy or nauseous?
The first thing to do is call 911, then loosen the person’s clothing. Lead them to a cool place.
Use cool water to cool down the person’s body. If the victim can talk, give them cool water to drink. If help is delayed, contact your local ER for further instructions.
Some prescribed drugs and street drugs can affect the body’s response to heat. Your body is unable to detect the danger. Talk to your doctor and/or pharmacist to see if your medications are problematic.
This information is provided by the Ohio Department of Mental Health. Family Recovery Center promotes the well being of individuals, families and communities with education prevention and treatment programs for substance abuse and other mental health issues.