Not only in Prince George has it been scorching hot this past few weeks. Record breaking temperatures were set in the US over the long weekend, and we’re just getting into the hottest summer months now. Dehydration & heat exhaustion are no laughing matter, but fortunately there are lots of things that can be done to keep the body both cool & hydrated.
Help to stay cool:
- spend time in the shade
- keep the house closed up rather than opening the windows
- consider sleeping in the basement if you have one
- indoor fans
- air conditioning is a popular option, but harsh on the environment
- spending time in water (careful, sunburns sneak up on you at the lake!)
- eating spicy foods
Spicy foods work similar to how a fever does in that it increases the body temperature so that the air around you feels cooler. Same goes for drinking a hot beverage or having soup for lunch! If you can wrap your head around it enough to give it a shot you won’t be sorry!
Staying properly hydrated is difficult when the temperatures are rising, especially if you’re doing any kind of activity that would be causing you to sweat on top of the heat burden the weather is contributing. Be sure to drink a LOT of fluids. If you’re not needing to use the bathroom regularly you’re dehydrated!
- drink fluids: avoid caffeine, alcohol & high sugar
- coconut water is a fantastic fluid of choice as it contains natural electrolytes
- eat high water foods: watermelon, tomatoes, cucumbers
- avoid eating dehydrating foods that are high in salt or are dry (think crackers or popcorn)
Heat stroke (also called sunstroke) is serious and can warrant a trip to the emergency room, and if you suspect someone is suffering from it you should call 911. Damage to the brain as well as other organs can occur, which can possibly lead to death. Prevention is key.
If you see/experience/hear complaints of:
- headaches, confusion or disorientation
- lightheadedness, fainting or unconsciousness
- nausea or vomiting
- red, hot or dry skin (no sweat despite the heat)
- muscle cramps or weakness
- rapid breath &/or heartbeat
Before you do anything else to help this person, call an ambulance. This is the most important thing you can do to help them! Only then should you get the person to a shady place, and cool them down as best you can with what you have access to. This may include a fan, cold bath, ice packs &/or a cool damp cloth to the neck, armpits or groin.
Have a great summer & stay cool!