Beating The Heat: Ways to Stay Cool
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Find Air Conditioned Space
Staying indoors in an air conditioned space is the best way to beat the heat, according to Nicole Valentine, Public Relations Manager for the city’s Division of Public Health.
If you do not have air conditioning, Valentine recommended going to the mall, library or other cool space.
“Even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat,” Valentine said.
The senior center is expected to be open as a cooling center, but its times and hours of operation have not yet been determined. Calls seeking additional information were not returned.
Drink Plenty of Fluids
Staying hydrated is the best way to avoid heat-related conditions.
“It’s really important to drink plenty of fluids,” Dr. Mary-Elise Manuell, MD, an emergency medicine physician at UMass Memorial Medical, said. “Water is good, as are the sports drinks. Avoid alcohol and sodas with a lot of sugar – those will not be good for keeping you hydrated.”
Dr. Manuell said that it is important to hydrate before you are thirsty.
“If you find yourself to be thirsty, then you’re definitely not getting enough to drink,” Dr. Manuell said.
Limit Outdoor Activity
Valentine recommended that outdoor activities be limited to early morning and evening hours.
“If you are 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 at least into the shade, and rest, especially if you become lightheaded, confused, weak, or faint,” Valentine advised.
Limit the amount of time spent outdoors, especially in wide open areas like a beach, since there is a potential for severe exposure.
Using sunscreen is essential, since a sunburn limits the body’s ability to cool itself and causes a loss of bodily fluids.
Light colored and loose fitting clothing is cooler. Wear a wide brimmed hat and sunglasses; both will help you to stay cooler while protecting you.
Watch Out for Those At Risk
Infants, young children and the elderly are more susceptible to heat related illnesses. Valentine urged the public to check on at-risk persons at least twice daily and watch them for signs of heat exhaustion.
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