Just two weeks since the summer solstice and the temperatures have been at an all-time and almost suffocating high. Here in the NEK we try not to sweat the small stuff (pun intended) but with high heat and humidity it’s hard not to feel like a melting mess. Before you let this heat wave drive you to heat stroke, don’t lose hope, you can find healthful and safe ways to cope.
It’s hot! When we are hot our body naturally produces more sweat to try to cool our bodies. If you can’t find a cool place to beat the heat, you work or live in places without air conditioning; you may be sweating even more than the average person. Sweating is an easy way to start losing valuable hydration in the body. The easiest way to stay healthy during this time of year is to drink lots and lots of water. The saying that, “if you are feeling thirsty means you may already be dehydrated,” is true. Do your best to not allow yourself to even get thirsty and keep sipping steadily throughout the day. Keep lots of healthy fluids on hand, and when you can, stick to plain old water or even seltzer waters that aren’t filled with extra calories and sugars. Just because you are sweating, doesn’t mean you are burning more calories.
Speaking of burning calories, you may be concerned about how to keep up your fitness routine with such high heat that doesn’t seem to let up, even in the morning and evening. Heat exhaustion can be a real worry and if you like to walk or run outside alone, this could be a danger for you. If you must be outside, look for extra shady places like the Newport bike path to help keep you from direct sunlight. Get your workout in early before the heat builds or wait until the evenings if you can. BUT, if you can, find a well-ventilated and preferably air-conditioned indoor space to get your workout in. The Wellness Center is temperature controlled to make sure that those coming in will have a safe space to stay committed to their fitness goals. Working out puts healthy stress on the body yet doing it in this heat can turn it into an unhealthy situation. Do yourself a favor to stay committed to your routine by looking for indoor options, videos or classes that will let you sweat safely.
If you are like most people here in the Kingdom you probably have your favorite lake or water hole you head to, to cool off. Don’t lose sight that although the water may be cooling you down, that you aren’t still vulnerable to the sun. Avoid spending too long outside in the direct sunlight and always wear sunscreen and sun safe clothing. Make sure to pack lots of water and water filled foods like fruit to make the trip to the beach not only cooling but extra hydrating as well.
Now is the time to watch out for older friends and family for signs of dehydration and heat stroke. If you notice someone isn’t “acting right,” or they seem confused, it could be a sign of both. If you notice a sudden rash or they complain of lightheadedness and/or being cold (when you know it’s hot out), these are warning signs that could warrant a call to their primary healthcare provider. If someone is passing out or unable to walk or stand, these are all situations that may need a trip to the emergency room, as they may be in a state of dehydration that requires immediate medical attention.
Other tips for keeping cool: Avoid using your dryer and dry clothes in the sun, look for oven free ways to prep meals, wear lighter weight clothing, buy a personal fan for work or home, take a cool shower, use a cooling towel, load up on ice packs that you can place on the back of your neck or back to cool down, pull your shades, go to the beach, spritz yourself with water, buy a kiddie pool, wear loose clothing, take breaks from strenuous work, eat cold foods, and that’s just to name some of the ways that may help!
After such long, cold winters, we really crave some sunshine and warm days, but that doesn’t mean that we can be ignorant to the risks that these heat waves can cause. This is not only important for you, your children and families, but also your pets. Look out for each other, try to keep everyone hydrated and as we all know, we may need a little extra patience with each other until the heat and humidity subside. You can still enjoy your summer, be active and make memories, but do it safely. Grab your water bottle, cooling towel and if you have to even park yourself in front of a fan, no one can judge each other when it comes to finding ways to cool down right now, because it’s too darn hot!