Beat the Heat
June 20, 2011 —
Now that it is time to sport a bathing suit instead of a snowsuit, you should still be aware of some of the dangers that come with summer.
These dangers may not be obvious but can be preventable if you know how to prepare for them.
James Knight, a physician’s assistant at Bangor Medical Center offered some tips to help beat the heat:
Make sure to drink plenty of water. The Mayo Clinic, a group of nonprofit medical care facilities located across the nation, recommends eight 8-ounce glasses every day.
“On a hot day, hydration is more important than a set standard,” Knight said. “Just drink based on the heat and your level of activity.”
He added that alcohol should be completely avoided on hot days because it can cause dehydration.
DONT BE TOO HOT TO HANDLE
Heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke are all serious conditions that come from inadequate water or salt intake.
Knight said that heat cramps can occur by themselves or as a symptom of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
Other symptoms of heat exhaustion are fatigue, dizziness, nausea, headache, clamminess and high heart rate.
Heat strokes are the same as exhaustion except instead of being clammy, the skin is hot and sweating has stopped.
Knight said that if any of these symptoms are observed, the person should be moved to a cool spot and given sips of salt water or a sports drink. If it is thought to be heat stroke, the person should also be covered in a wet blanket.
NOW THE SPARKS ARE FLYING
With hot weather comes thunderstorms that are often forecasted but can pop up with little warning.
Wind and lightning are the two biggest dangers with thunderstorms. The National Weather Service recommends staying in a sturdy structure when a storm begins.
If caught in the storm while driving and visibility is low, pull over and wait until it passes.
If there are signs of a tornado while driving, find a sturdy structure. If this isn’t possible, the Service says to avoid overpasses, as these can be dangerous in a tornado. Instead, buckle yourself into your car or lie in a low spot while covering your head.
ALWAYS USE SUN PROTECTION
Wearing sunscreen is one of the most important things you can do during the summer, according to Knight.
“SPF 50 is the absolute lowest that is effective, and it should be reapplied multiple times,” he said. Many people love to tan, but “if you tan, you fail.”
“People under 30 who tan have a rate of skin cancer of 75 percent.”
Knight added that it’s important to wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from UV rays and to wear sunscreen on cloudy days.