8 Tips to Beat the Summer Heat

Georgia is experiencing heat wave in the middle of a recession. Sounds like a recipe for disaster right? Well, not if you sell fans. A recent article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution explored ways that locals are beating the heat and found that floor fans are literally flying off the shelves. Why? Floor fans are portable, get the job done and, most importantly, are cheaper than traditional air conditioners.

But the lack of adequate cooling could lead to problems at the height of summer. The elderly, children, people with health problems and people who work outside are most susceptible to the heat. In fact, a Med Page Today article reported that heat deaths strike men more often due to the fact that men are more likely to have jobs that require them to work outside. The article pointed out that men in their prime years (15-64) suffered significantly more heat deaths than women of the same age, so if you are a man (or woman) who works outside or know someone who does, take measures like the ones listed below.

If you or someone you know falls into one of the categories of people who are most susceptible to heat, be sure to pass on these tips for getting through what is sure to be a hot summer in a safe and healthy way:

1.) Drink plenty of water or other liquids. Even if you aren’t thirsty, liquids will keep your body hydrated.

2.) Dress in light weight, loose fitting clothing. Light colors are best.

3.) Be aware of the time and do not engage in outdoor or vigorous activities between noon and 4 p.m., the hottest part of the day.

4.) Wear a hat or use an umbrella when you go outside on a hot day.

5.) Eat light in hot weather. Get extra hydration by eating foods such as fruits, salads and soups that are high in water content.

6.) Take frequent showers and baths (while watching your water consumption, of course.) Water actually draws heat away from the skin, so bathing in tepid water is a great way to cool off on the hottest days.

7.) Watch for signs of dehydration. Human bodies are made up of 75% water and a drop in that percentage can be deadly. Early signs of dehydration are thirst to try to increase the body’s water content and decreased urination as the body tries to preserve its existing water content. Further symptoms include dry mouth, inability to produce tears, muscle cramps, nausea and vomiting, and lightheadedness. Dehydrated people may also stop sweating. Untreated dehydration can lead to coma and organ failure.

8.) Know the signs of heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Heat cramps are muscle spasms suffered by people who sweat during long, strenuous activities in hot sun. Heat exhaustion can develop after a few days of overheating while failing to take in enough fluid. Heat exhaustion is a milder form of heat stroke. Heat stroke is an extremely serious condition characterized by a high temperature and neurological symptoms. Symptoms can also mimic heart attack symptoms.

If you work outside and experience any unusual effects, don’t ignore your health. Four hundred people died between 1999 and 2003 from heat stroke, and it’s shaping up to be one hot summer.