Monday, August 16, 2021

How to Handle a Hotter than Hell Summer

OK--the title of this blog post is misleading because I've never been to the hell Christians refer to if we don't get our lives right before we die.  But the point I'm making is, if "hell" is as hot as it is claimed to be, then what I (and many others) have been experiencing this Summer feels like "hotter than hell."

OK---moving on.

As someone who suffers from heart disease, I have to be extremely mindful of the time I spend outdoors because heat and heart disease just don't mix.  Hot weather puts stress on the heart because it has to work harder to beat faster and work harder.  I am at serious risk for heat stroke.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention there were more than 700 deaths between 2004-2018 and extreme heat sends more than 65,000 Americans to the ER annually.

So how can you avoid becoming a victim of extreme heat?  Here are some tips:

Stay hydrated:  If you're accustomed to drinking at least 32 ounces of water daily, add another 32 or 64 ounces to your daily regiment. Along with drinking water, eat food with a high water content like watermelon, cucumbers, cantaloupe, strawberries, spinach, zucchini and cabbage.

Wear light colored clothing:  Light-colored, loose fitting clothing allows air circulation and transfers heat away from the body.  You may also want to wear a visor or brimmed hat to help keep the sun from blazing on your face.

Limit your outdoor activities:  If you're a walker or runner, try getting up early in the morning to get your workout in.  You should also shorten the intensity and duration of your exercise and wear clothing suitable for the weather like a moisture-wicking fabric.  

Limit your alcohol intake:  Alcohol and heat just don't mix.

Stay informed:  If you're planning a workout or another outdoor activity, be sure to check the weather forecast the day before so you will have a sense of what you'll be up against and at what time(s).  A high humidity keeps sweat from evaporating as quickly, making humidity worse that dry heat.  Spending too much time in an environment with a high humidity can actually make you sick because bacteria and viruses that can cause illness thrive in air that's above 60 degrees in relative humidity. 

Stay safe, stay cool this Summer.