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June 28, 2022

Hot tips for dealing with heat

Avoid heat stroke, exhaustion this summer
While some people head for the air conditioning as summer heats
up, those who are planning to spend some time outdoors should keep
a few things in mind to avoid the negative side effects that can
come with a hot day in the sun.
Avoid heat stroke, exhaustion this summer

While some people head for the air conditioning as summer heats up, those who are planning to spend some time outdoors should keep a few things in mind to avoid the negative side effects that can come with a hot day in the sun.

“The best advice is to prepare themselves,” said Nora Jimenez, who works with the San Benito County Health Department. “Obviously, they need to hydrate – drink plenty of water – and take precautions.”

The California Department of Health Services has compiled a list of tips that will prevent sunburns, heat stroke and heat exhaustion. Those most at risk for heat-related health problems are infants and children under age 4, people over 65 years of age, as well as others that are ill, on certain medication, overweight or who overexert during work or exercise.

“If you care for a child or a minor, take extra precautions,” Jimenez said. “Just the common senese type of things that you would do for yourself.”

The top tip from health services is keeping hydrated by drinking lots of fluids. While heat might lead to a desire for an ice-cold drink, in very hot weather, health services staff warn that drinking a cold drink can lead to stomach cramps. Alcoholic beverages are also not recommended because alcohol causes the human body to lose fluids.

In addition, fruit juices and sports drinks can be a good choice for those exercising or working in the heat because the beverages help replace salt and minerals that are lost from the body when sweating.

Losing fluids is just one of the worries in extreme temperatures. Wearing proper clothing such as lightweight, light-colored and loose-fitting clothes, will also help keep the body cool, according to health services staff. Avoiding sunburns by using sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher also helps the body regulate its temperatures as sunburns disrupt the body’s ability to cool itself.

“When traveling, especially with a child, have some type of sun protection in the vehicle,” Jimenez said. “If you have an infant, keep in mind where the sun is hitting the infant and keep an eye on them.”

When someone exhibits warning sings of heat stroke or heat exhaustion (see below), the health services staff have several suggests for cooling them down until medical assistance is available.

First, get the victim to a shady area. Then try to cool them off by spraying with cool water, sponging with cool water or emerging them in a cool tub or shower. If humidity is low, victims can be wrapped into a wet sheet and fanned.

Health services staff suggests continuing the cooling process until the body temperature has dropped to 101 to 102 degrees.

Of course, the best way to deal with heat-related injuries is to prevent, according to Health Services.

“Don’t step out for the day without taking your little handypak with you,” said Jimenez, who suggested taking along sunscreen, water and proper clothing whenever planning a day in the sun.

Signs of heat stroke:

-An extremely high body temperature, above 103 degrees orally

-Unconsciousness

-Dizziness, nausea and confusion

-Red, hot and dry skin (no sweating)

-Rapid, strong pulse

-Throbbing headache

Signs of heat exhaustion:

-Heavy sweating

-Muscle cramps

-Weakness

-Headahce

-Nausea or vomiting

-Paleness, tiredness and dizziness

Signs courtesy of the California Department of Health Services.

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