Your Wife is HOT:
5 Tips for Beating the Summer Heat
Before yesterday afternoon, I had no idea what my topic this week would be. My inspiration came around 3:15 at a stop light six blocks from the office. As I pulled to a stop, I noticed, to my right, a man jogging on the sidewalk. Not unusual, it was, after all, a nice day. But he was shirtless, not wearing a hat and my dashboard thermometer read 96°. My initial thought was, “Gosh, this guy’s in great shape!”. But the more I stared at my thermometer and watched him in my rear-view mirror, my opinion changed to, “He’s dumber than a brick and has to be clueless to the risks he’s taking”.
Those risks are, I believe, fairly obvious. In the short run (pun intended) there is the chance for, at the very least, a bad sunburn. Plus, there’s the risk of heat stroke, especially if you don’t drink enough fluids. Over the long run, there’s the chance of developing skin cancer. These are all things I want to avoid, and I’m thinking you do too. Recently I was in Dallas, and saw a billboard with the following:
Your Wife is Hot
Buy Her a New Air Conditioner!
The billboard, obviously, caught my attention. At first, you can’t see the second line. It’s not until you get closer that you realize it’s an ad from a local AC company. While this is a humorous attention getter, it does make the point that dealing with the heat is not to be taken lightly. A 2013 report by the CDC stated that between 1999 and 2009, 7,233 heat-related deaths occurred in the United States. It went on to state that, “across the nation, heat-related deaths occur more frequently among males and adults aged 65 and older.”
A related article estimated that roughly 60% of those who died were seniors. There are many reasons seniors are more susceptible to heat-related trauma. One difference is physiological. “Older adults do not adjust as well as young people to sudden changes in temperature.” It takes a longer time to respond to an extreme temperature which can cause heat exhaustion or heat stroke.” Seniors are also more likely to have chronic illnesses inhibiting the body’s natural defenses. Examples include “breathing difficulties, heart conditions, hypertension, kidney problems and mental ailments like Parkinson’s and dementia.” A third cause is seniors are more likely to be on daily medications that impair the body’s ability to adjust to outside temperatures. Dealing with the heat is not just an issue for seniors, everyone needs to be cautious, especially during the summer months. Today I will be sharing five tips for dealing with the heat.
- Be Time Sensitive – If you are exercising or working outside, it will be cooler in the early morning or evening. If possible, avoid working or playing outside when it is extremely hot. If you must, make sure you are prepared.
- Be clothing conscious – Best to wear light-colored and loose-fitting clothing that will allow perspiration to evaporate more quickly. Wearing a wide-brimmed hat will help protect you from sunburn. You can also purchase a cold gel pack to wear around your neck.
- Stay hydrated – Drink plenty of water or drinks like Gatorade that will replenish electrolytes and other nutrients. Stay away from alcohol, caffeinated beverages and drinks that have a high sugar content. These will only compromise the body’s ability to combat the heat.
- Check Your AC –Make sure your AC is working properly and the filters are okay. Have replacements on hand. If your home does not have AC make plans to spend your day in a public facility like a mall or library.
- Know the Symptoms – There are numerous symptoms including skin is overly hot to the touch, muscle or stomach cramps, sweating excessively, pale or clammy skin, severe headache, nausea and/or vomiting and fainting.
There are, to be sure, other tips you may want to follow. I purposely left out sunscreen because there are studies linking it to cancer. Seems that synthetic vitamin A can, over time, increase the risk of contracting certain cancers. The studies I read claim that synthetic vitamin A when exposed to sunlight actually damages the skin. Still, I think applying sunscreen is a good idea and there are brands out there with natural ingredients. You can probably find them in places like Whole Foods and most any health food or nutritional outlet.
Most of today’s tips are plain common sense. Caution and wisdom are probably your best guides. Still, I hope you found these tips useful for enjoying your summer.