Staying Safe Under Extreme Heat Conditions
By Stephen R. Farris
Oh the dreaded season of summer. While there are many great things about summer -- vacations, swimming in the pool or lake, or ocean, snow cones, the neighborhood ice cream vendor -- one thing is for sure, you can always count on the heat.
Unfortunately, not everyone has the luxury of staying cool. There are many homes that don't have air conditioning and their only source of air circulation is sometimes a raised window with a boxed fan sitting on the ledge. But while it does circulate the air, it still blows in the warmer air.
Heat is also a contributor to certain health risks, such as sunburn, heat stroke, sun stroke, fluid and/or electrolyte imbalances, dehydration, acute kidney failure, or even death, especially in areas of the country that are not used to higher temperatures and extreme heat conditions.
People with certain health conditions should take precaution when venturing outdoors in extreme heat conditions. For instance, people with:
- Heart disease
- Lung disease
- Mental conditions
- Pregnancy (risk of premature birth or low birthweight)
There are ways to keep cool and avoid succumbing to extreme heat by keeping a close monitor on temperatures and listening to your body, as well as checking on your friends and family to make sure they're good. Older adults and young children may be affected more by extreme heat conditions, so it's important to keep an eye on them and make sure they are staying as cool as possible and hydrated. Some of the things you can do:
- Make a plan to stay cool at home or go to a public place with air conditioning
- Check the weather forecast first thing in the mornings
- Stay hydrated (avoid sugary drinks and alcoholic beverages)
- Wear appropriate clothing
- Use sunscreen on exposed skin
- Monitor your health conditions on days of extreme heat
Most weather reports now provide not only the temperature, but also provide a heat index (which indicates how hot it really feels outside), pollen counts (for folks who may have allergies or lung conditions), UV index, humidity level, barometric pressure, and a few other helpful indexes. These indexes can help you decide if it's safe for you to venture outside in extreme heat conditions, or plan your outing before the heat hits its peak.
And if you do suffer from certain medical conditions that could flare up when temperatures rise above normal, then check with your doctor or local chiropractor to hear tips and suggestions they have to help keep you safe and cool.
To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Clarksville, Tenn.