I am such a baby about hot weather. I whine and moan and groan to my family about how uncomfortable I am and how much I hate to sweat.
Have you noticed it’s hot outside? For the past few weeks, temperatures have been in the high 80s, 90s, and low 100s. As far as I’m concerned, it might as well be 1000 degrees. I thank God everyday that I have an inside job! Of course, I do have to go out in the heat several times each day. Like you, I have to water the plants and run errands. But even the little bit I am in the heat can be a major problem.
None of us drinks enough water. Most doctors recommend we drink 8 glasses of water a day, in addition to the soda and tea we drink. The primary cause of heat exhaustion is dehydration – not enough water. And you don’t have to be outside very long before you show symptoms of heat exhaustion.
There are two types of heat exhaustion. Water depletion symptoms are excessive thirst, weakness, and headache. When not enough salt is the reason for heat exhaustion, the symptoms include nausea, muscle cramps, and dizziness. Either way, the best solution for these symptoms is to drink plenty of fluids. That does not mean go have a “coke;” it means get a big glass of water. Other things you can do are take off any tight or unnecessary clothing, take a cool shower, or sit in front of a fan for a little while.
If you are one of those folks who have to work outside in this heat, you need to watch for heat stroke. It happens quickly. The symptoms of heat stroke are high body temperature, agitation, slurred speech, nausea and vomiting, flushed skin, rapid breathing, racing heart rate, and headache. Remember, the difference between heat exhaustion and heat stroke is when you have heat stroke you don’t sweat.
If you are having heat stroke, you should find medical assistance immediately. You need to get indoors or in the shade and sponge off with cool water and wet towels on your head, neck and armpits. The risk of heat-related illness is higher when temperatures are 90 degrees or higher. It is also important to pay attention to the heat indexes and to remember to stay out of direct, full sunshine if you can.
Weather stations report the heat index as well as the temperature nowadays. Heat index is a combination of air temperature and humidity. The human body cools down by sweating (Eww!). When the sweat evaporates, you feel cooler. When the humidity is high, your sweat can’t evaporate and it feels hotter. That is how the heat index works. Information about heat exhaustion and heat stroke is available both on the Internet and from your doctor. When in doubt, always check with your personal physician.
If you are out and about on the Square in Athens and the heat is getting to you, stop by Square Clock Coffee for a smoothie or iced coffee. They have several different smoothies to choose from. The Fiddling Bear has strawberry, pineapple, coconut, and orange juice. The Rocket has pineapple, mango, peach, banana, peach, and orange juice. Berry Belle Mina has strawberry, lemonade, raspberry, blackberry, and blueberry. Strawberry Spirit has strawberry, and milk or jet pep. Hank & Oats has banana, oats, peanut butter, and milk or jet pep. Story Tella has banana, hazelnut, milk or jet pep, and mocha. Get Centered has green tea, pear, spinach, cucumber, avocado, lime juice, apple, and cilantro. Jaffe Java has coffee, coconut, caramel, chocolate, cocoa, and milk or jet pep.
By: Wanda Campbell
Center for Lifelong Learning – 121 South Marion Street, Athens, AL 35611 – 256-233-8262