Beat the Heat

Tips to Handle the Heat this Summer

By Manuel Sanchez, TRT Staff Reporter

With the dog days of summer heating up all over the country, pushing temps into the triple digits, it is important to stay hydrated and keep cool, especially for children and the elderly.

When it comes to exercise during the summer months, choose cooler times of day. Working out in the heat and humidity can make all parts of your body sweat, including your feet.

When feet are wet, blisters can develop, so wear socks that are 100 percent cotton. If you feel a hot spot developing, find a place in the shade to sit down and inspect your feet. Put a bandage on the tender area, and let your feet dry.

When working outdoors, take periodic breaks in a cool area. It is important to relax, slow down, and pace yourself. Drink plenty of water and non-alcoholic beverages, don’t wait until you feel thirsty.

In hot weather, as much as three to four quarts of fluids per day are recommended. Avoid alcohol and caffeine which are diuretics – substances that increase water loss via the urine.

Sport drinks, such as Gatorade, are high in sodium and are only needed if you exercise or work hard and for long periods of time. Water-filled fruits and vegetables add to your hydration level, but not in significant amounts.

When it comes to the type of clothing to wear during the heat, dress in light, loose cotton clothing which allows air to circulate, helping keep you cooler. Natural fibers like cotton, are much cooler than synthetics. Protective hats are a must, as they provide shade for the face and neck, while keeping the sun out of the eyes.

If you do have to go out in the heat, use sunscreen, even on overcast days. Women’s Health Magazine recommends using sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 15 (Sun Protection Factor) on all body parts exposed to the sun including the back of neck, ears, and lips. The most effective products say “broad spectrum” or “UVA/UVB protection” on their labels.

Keep cool with fans, air conditioning, and cool baths or showers. Make your own air conditioner by placing a bowl of ice in front of a fan. Window fans work best when blowing air out, so put your fan on the sunny side of the dwelling and let it expel the hot air while pulling cool air from open windows on the shady side. Keep shades or curtains pulled on the sunny side of the house.

Get plenty of sleep and eat light, nutritious, and non-fatty meals. Choose food high in water content, like fruits and vegetables.

By following common sense and these simple tips, handling the summer’s heat should be a little easier. Stay hydrated and cool, and most importantly, listen to your body.

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