Thursday, July 21, 2011
Oh my goodness: when I left home today, it was about 5:50 am, and it was already 80 degrees. The weather report called it a sweltering heat, and that's precisely what it is. It was hard to breathe and it felt like an oven. I have been reading a lot about heat illnesses (heat stroke, heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat rash) and it surprised me to learn that many people have suffered from these conditions and didnít even recognize the symptoms. It also surprised me to learn that a large number of people overlook and ignore the signs. Let me repeat that. A large number of people overlook and ignore the signs. I guess thatís just how people typically treat their health. They routinely overlook and ignore things until something bad happens and they get really sick.
When the weather is 90 or above, pace yourself. Take frequent breaks and wear a hat or cap to protect your head from the heat. Some people carry an umbrella. When I was a kid I would laugh at people I saw walking around with an umbrella on a bright sunny day. Well, now I know better. An umbrella isnít just to shield you from the rain. Itís a great protector from the sun too. Placing a cool towel or rag on your skin can also help. Donít worry about trying to look cute when youíre out in the sun.
According to information I read recently from the Centers for Disease Control, there are a number of indicators of a heat-related illness. These include heavy sweating, cramps, extreme tiredness, physical weakness, paleness, fainting, headaches, nausea or vomiting, extra thirsty, and acute to chronic dizziness. Each one of these things can be caused by lots of different things. But if you experience more than one of them at a time, it could be a sign you are suffering from a form of heat illness. The results can be much more severe in young children, the elderly, or other people with health problems.
If you suffer from these things and youíre still alert and lucid, you can treat yourself or assist a friend or family a members. Retreat to a cool shady spot with a cold compress and a cool beverage, preferably water. Avoid alcohol, and if possible, elevate your feet. Most importantly, when in doubt, call emergency personnel. Dozens of people die each year from exposure to the heat because they donít take any action. Protect yourself and pay attention to your body. For some good resources, read the following: