All across the country, cities are experiencing drastic heat waves. In states such as Nevada, Arizona, and California temperatures were up so high that flights had to be cancelled. People living in these cities are having to take safety measures to keep themselves and their pets cool. In Georgia, however, it’s not AS hot, but still hot regardless. We wanted to take this opportunity to give you a few safety tips!
Dixie Chopper Mowers’ recent Instagram post made sure to point out a few KEY points of beating heat related illnesses this summer.
Heat Related Illnesses
Summer is in full effect, and now is the time to refresh your knowledge on Heat related Illnesses. First off, according to Web MD, a heat-related illness occurs when our bodies can no longer transfer enough heat to keep us cool. Your body may then have many different reactions to trying to deal with excess heat. For example, people may experience any one of these heat related illnesses:
- Heat rash – occurs when the sweat ducts to the skin become blocked or swell, causing discomfort and itching.
- Heat cramps – occur in muscles after exercise because sweating causes the body to lose water, salt, and minerals (electrolytes).
- Heat edema in the legs and hands – occurs when you sit or stand for a long time in a hot environment.
- Heat tetany (hyperventilation and heat stress), which is usually caused by short periods of stress in a hot environment.
- Heat syncope (fainting), which occurs from low blood pressure when heat causes the blood vessels to expand (dilate) and body fluids move into the legs because of gravity.
The more serious illnesses to watch for include heat exhaustion and heat strokes. Heat exhaustion is especially important for our customers who work outside. This occurs when a person is sweating from either working or exercising in extreme heat and are not drinking enough liquids to replace the lost liquids which causes the dehydration. Symptoms of heat exhaustion may include fatigue, weakness, headache, dizziness, nausea, and a change in skin. (pale, cool and/or moist) Severe heat exhaustion may lead to heat strokes which are medical emergencies. During a heat stroke, your body fails to regulate its own temperature thus will continue to rise. If left untreated this could be life threatening.
It’s important to remember, most heat related illnesses can be prevented! The two main factors to help you stay safe is to keep your body cool and hydrated. Here are a few ways to do so (gathered by Medicine Net):
- Alter your pattern of outdoor exercise to take advantage of cooler times (early morning or late evening). If you can’t change the time of your workout, scale it down by doing fewer minutes, walking instead or running, or decreasing your level of exertion.
- Wear loose-fitting clothing, preferably of a light color.
- Cotton clothing will keep you cooler than many synthetics.
- Fill a spray bottle with water and keep it in the refrigerator for a quick refreshing spray to your face after being outdoors.
- Fans can help circulate air and make you feel cooler even in an air-conditioned house.
- Try storing lotions or cosmetic toners in the refrigerator to use on hot, overtired feet.
- Keep plastic bottles of water in the freezer; grab one when you’re ready to go outside. As the ice melts, you’ll have a supply of cold water with you.
- Take frequent baths or showers with cool or tepid water.
- Combat dehydration by drinking plenty of water along with sports drinks or other sources of electrolytes.
- Some people swear by small, portable, battery-powered fans. At an outdoor event I even saw a version that attaches to a water bottle that sprays a cooling mist.
- I learned this trick from a tennis pro: if you’re wearing a cap or hat, remove it and pour a bit of ice cold water into the hat, then quickly invert it and place on your head.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol as these will promote dehydration.
- Instead of hot foods, try lighter summer fare including frequent small meals or snacks containing cold fruit or low fat dairy products. As an added benefit, you won’t have to cook next to a hot stove.
- If you don’t have air-conditioning, arrange to spend at least parts of the day in a shopping mall, public library, movie theater, or other public space that is cool. Many cities have cooling centers that are open to the public on sweltering days.
- Finally, use common sense. If the heat is intolerable, stay indoors when you can and avoid activities in direct sunlight or on hot asphalt surfaces. Pay special attention to the elderly, infants, and anyone with a chronic illness, as they may dehydrate easily and be more susceptible to heat-related illnesses. Don’t forget that pets also need protection from dehydration and heat-related illnesses too.
Summer may be a fun time to go on family vacations and trips to the pool, but anyone can suffer from heat related illnesses. It’s important to stay hydrated and take any preventative measures to ensure safety this summer. Thanks for reading, and stay safe out there!