It’s obvious…. summer has arrived. It is that time of year again to enjoy sunny days, good times and vacations. Here are a few things to keep in mind while you are basking in the heat.
Hydration: It is vital you hydrate continuously while you work and play. Our bodies are about 60% water in weight. Our brain is made up of about 73% water. Just a 2% reduction of body water weight can lead to issues with motor skills and memory. It is important you monitor your intake of water during your exposure to heat. A few items to keep hydrated:
- A standard formula is 8X8. Eight glasses of 8 oz. water each day or divide your body weight in half and apply that number in ounces.
- Purchase a reusable insulated water bottle. Over 20% of plastic water bottles end up in landfills. Save the environment while hydrating.
- Using flavor infusions can add taste and sugar to your intake.
- During hot days drink before you eat. The body absorbs necessary water, hydrates and helps in food intake.
- Speaking of food, your selection can assist in hydration. Some foods have high water content like cucumbers (97%), Celery (96%), tomatoes (95%), watermelon (92%) and strawberries (91%).
- Stick to water for hydration. Caffeinated drinks are absorbed less than water.
Sunblock: Never spend long periods of time in the sun without properly protecting your skin. When selecting sunblocks make sure they are “Broad spectrum” to protect you from UVA and UVB light. UVA light effects deep into your skin while UVB light is the cause of sunburn. Make sure your sunblock has the appropriate SPF (Skin Protection Factor) for your activity. For prolonged exposure to the sun use a higher SPF. The SPF is a guide on how long it will take your skin to burn compared to if the u had no sunblock on. If on a sunny day your skin would begin to sunburn at 20 minutes an SPF of 15 would mean it would take 15 times as long for your skin to burn. Remember, everyone is different and you should maintain watch on your skin for signs of sunburn. Skin Cancer foundations recommend you should not use a broad spectrum SPF lower than 15. For prolonged exposure during the day boost it to SPF 30.
Animals: Just as you are effected by heat so are your pets. Pets should NEVER be left inside vehicles even with the windows down slightly. On an 85 degree day in just 10 minutes the inside of your vehicle can reach 102 degrees. After 30 minutes it is passing 120 degrees air temperature. Humid days are dangerous for animals. Many animals pant to evaporate moisture inside their lungs to dissipate heat from the body. On humid, hot days they are unable to evaporate that moisture and their internal body temperatures can skyrocket. Limit exercising your pets during hot days. If walking them remember the hot roadways can burn their paws and pads. Take water not only for you but also your pet when outside.
Gas Grills: Summer time brings the outdoor chef. Grilling foods can be very tasty however keep a few things in mind. Grills (propane or charcoal) should NEVER be used inside the home or garage. Besides being a fire hazard fumes can be lethal if not used in an open ventilated area. Make sure your grill placement is away from the sides of your home, garage, railings and any overhangs such as branches or awnings. Radiant heat after prolonged exposure to a object can cause ignition. Also, make sure your grill is COOL before you move it back to it’s stored position like next to your home. Kids and pets should be kept away from a hot grill. Clean your grill regularly so greases cannot accumulate and cause a fire. Finally, never leave a grill unattended.
POOLS: While very refreshing swimming pools can be very dangerous. Drowning is the leading cause of accidental death in children ages 1-4. When your pool is being used an adult should always be with children. Flotation devices should be used for marginal swimmers until they are confident swimmers. EVERY person is a lifeguard at a pool. Be aware of what is going on around you. Small children floating in the pool should be within an arms length. Rescue devices such as life rings and sling poles should be available. Finally, learn CPR. It can be the difference in life and death during an emergency in or out of the water.
Heat Stroke: Everyone enjoys the summer time and many people are injured due to heat related accidents. Keep an eye on your family and friends for signs of heat stroke. Traditionally heat stroke presents as hot, red colored skin and dry to the touch. If a person is not sweating during a hot, humid day they cannot dissipate their internal body heat and as their core temperature rises they become disoriented, dizzy, thirsty and eventually unconscious. Rapid cooling of their body core is vital. Place ice packs under their arm pits, groin and near their neck to begin cooling vital blood flow paths to the body. Call 911 immediately and rapidly transport them to the hospital.
Shrewsbury Volunteers wishes everyone a happy and fun filled summer time. Remember the little ones no longer have school and you should be on watch for them running or on bikes. Drive safe, party safely and enjoy the summer season.