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Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Tips on Tuesday: Staying Cool in the Summer Heat

With record temps and heat indexes sweeping the midwest and south, I thought it might be a good idea to talk about strategies for keeping cool. I remember having "Heat Sickness" or "Heat Exhaustion" several times as a kid. It was terrible and I'd love to make sure nobody else suffers.

The best information that I found on the web came from the CDC in their Extreme Heat section. The young and the elderly are the most susceptible to extreme heat. The number one defense you have against extreme heat? It's air conditioning. Even if you don't have air conditioning, you should find a place to spend the hottest part of the day that is air conditioned. A mall, buying a meal or drink at a restaurant or a public library are all places that are air conditioned. Some cities even set up "heat relief stations" where you can go pass the day. Depending on your community, many community centers will welcome you in to relax and be in an air conditioned environment.

The other big key to preventing heat related illness or death? Drink more water. The CDC says, "During hot weather you will need to increase your fluid intake, regardless of your activity level. Don't wait until you're thirsty to drink. During heavy exercise in a hot environment, drink two to four glasses (16-32 ounces) of cool fluids each hour."

Please remember that no matter what, do not leave children or pets in your car. Even with the windows open, a car can gain 20 degrees of heat within the first 10 minutes. Children left in cars run the greatest risk for heat illness or death. One suggestion is to bring a stuffed animal along in the car. If you have a child in the back, put the animal up front next to you as a reminder to make sure you don't forget a child (especially a sleeping one).

Stay cool, stay hydrated and stay safe during these dog days of summer.

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