When its -25 degrees in mid-January most of us Minnesotans long for the days of Summer. Well, according to recent weather records and the length of time it takes my vehicle to cool off, summer is here. We have already had a few days when mercury has been at or near 100 degrees. Add the wind, humidity and you can get a heat index that can be dangerous. The heat is most dangerous to the elderly, children and anyone exerting a lot of energy outdoors. The following tips offer a good review of how to avoid heat exhaustion / stroke.
Drink plenty of water. It is important to drink fluid, especially if you are out in the sun. Water is your best option. Do not wait until you are thirsty to drink. Avoid beverages with alcohol, caffeine and sugar. They may sound good, but can actually speed up dehydration.
- Use a fan to circulate the air. Even if you have air conditioning, a fan which keeps the air moving, will let you set the thermostat several degrees higher and still be comfortable.
- Use your basement during the hottest hours. If you do not have air conditioning but you have a basement, set up housekeeping there for the duration. Basements are usually 10 degrees cooler than the upstairs part of your house.
- Be a good neighbor. Check on your neighbors several times during the day. This is especially important if they are elderly, in poor health and/or live alone. One of the early symptoms of heat stroke is loss of consciousness, and those described above may not be able to seek help. You may be their only link to early, lifesaving treatment.
- Take care of senior citizens. Senior citizens living without air conditioning should spend the hottest hours of the day with family or friends or at air conditioned facilities such as malls, movie theaters or senior centers.
- Take extra care of young children. Children are susceptible to heat injury especially those 18 months or younger. Children are most susceptible in any small, closed area such as trailer/mobile homes, closed bedrooms, closed bathrooms, and cars. If you have questions about how to care for your young child, call your doctor.
- Eat light meals.
- Wear lightweight and light colored cotton clothing and a hat.
- Stay in the shade.
- Be kind to your pets. Pets suffer from the heat as much as you do. Provide them with shade and plenty of cool water. Do not leave pets in a car with window closed. This is extremely dangerous.
The Center for Disease Control states that the most common symptoms of heat exposure are: dizziness, nausea, rapid heartbeat, headache, absence of perspiration and dry, hot flushed skin. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should seek medical attention immediately.
Like always, this information is only useful if you share it with others.
~ Adriel Villarreal
Personal Injury Attorney