June 20, 2012

Chill Out

With temperatures expected to climb well into the 90s over the next two days around Boston, I figure everyone is going to be finding ways to stay cool and beat the heat. 
First, beware of your surroundings
Second, be precautious.  I have come up with a few tips to help you stay safe during a heat wave.
Tips on Recognizing and Avoiding Heat Stroke – If you’re out in extreme heat, you need to be careful to avoid heat stroke. Heat stroke is dangerous and can even be deadly.
Sometimes temperatures are so blisteringly-hot that you don’t feel like doing anything. But not everyone has the choice to hunker down in the air conditioning or head to a pool or a beach. Whether it’s for work or recreation, if you’re out in extreme heat, you need to be careful to avoid heat stroke. Heat stroke is a serious medical condition brought on by physical exertion in extreme heat. If untreated, it can lead to brain damage, organ damage, and even death.
How Do I End Up With Heat Stroke?
Heat Stroke results from having an abnormally elevated body temperature. Whenever your body works out, it naturally generates heat, which usually escapes through the skin or through the evaporation of sweat. However, when you work out in extreme heat or humidity (or when you work out at a high intensity outside and do not hydrate yourself), the heat your body produces may not be able to dissipate well enough and your body temperature rises, sometimes up to 106°F or higher.
Am I At Risk?
Infants, the elderly, athletes and those who work outside and physically exert themselves under the sun for a living are those at highest risk for heat strokes.
How Do I know it’s Heat Stroke?
Heat stroke symptoms can sometimes mimic those of a heart attack or other conditions. Often, an individual will experience signs of heat exhaustion before the condition escalates to heat stroke. Heat exhaustion symptoms include nausea, fatigue, headache, muscle cramps, dizziness, weakness and vomiting.
Heat stroke symptoms include a high body temperature, the absence of sweating, red or flushed dry skin, rapid pulse, difficulty breathing, hallucinations, disorientation, agitation, seizure and/or coma.
Emergency Room Doctors warn that friends and family should take note if someone appears altered, not acting correctly, wobbling, hot and dry to the touch, combative, or comatose. These symptoms should signal an emergency and a trip to the E.R.
How Do I Prevent Heat Stroke?
Avoid working out in high-temperature or humidity environments. If you cannot avoid physical exertion in these environments, be sure to frequently hydrate yourself to help keep your body temperature down. Take breaks as often as possible. Also, avoid drinking caffeine, alcohol or tea, as this may lead to dehydration.
Is There A Way To Treat Heat Stroke?
Heat Stroke requires professional medical treatment. If you or someone around you is exhibiting symptoms of a heat stroke, immediately call 911 or seek immediate professional medical help.
While you’re waiting for emergency medical services, get the victim to a shady area, remove layers of clothing, and apply cool or warm water to the skin, fan the victim, and place ice packs under the armpits and groin.
Tips on Avoiding Sunburn – The extreme heat may be gone in a few days, but it could definitely leave a lasting mark on your skin if you aren’t careful.
Anyone who’s spent a long day out in the summer sun is more than likely familiar with sunburn.
How Do I Get It?
Sunburn is literally a burn to the skin caused by the sun’s ultraviolet rays and anyone can get it from being out in the sun.
How Do I Know It’s Sunburn?
Sunburn is recognized by red or reddish skin in areas that have recently been exposed to the sun. The skin is hot to the touch and often painful. Other symptoms include peeling skin or blisters where the burn was most severe. Individuals with fair or light-colored skin are at a greater risk of sunburn injury.
If you’re going to be out in the sun, the best way to protect yourself is to apply sunscreen 15-30 minutes before heading outside.
For the most complete protection, apply a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher that has both UVA and UVB protection to shield your skin from both the sun’s burning rays (UVB rays) and it’s aging rays (UVA rays) that are connected to melanoma skin cancers. Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sun block and Coppertone Ultra Guard Sunscreen Lotion are good ones to try. Both offer broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) protection. If you plan to be active or go in the pool, make sure you use a sweat proof/waterproof sunscreen, like Banana Boat Sport Performance Active MAX Protect.
For best application, use about a tablespoon of sunscreen to cover your entire face and ears, and use about a shot glass full to cover each of the other exposed parts of your body. Reapply every three hours.
Over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen and aspirin are helpful in reducing pain, especially when taken early on.
Aloe Vera gel helps to cool and calm the skin as well as reduce pain and promote healing. The gel forms a protective layer on the skin that seals in valuable moisture, preventing dehydration and promoting faster healing.
For mild sunburn, cool compresses with equal parts milk and water calm the skin. Apply to the sunburned area for 15-20 minutes at a time.
Avoid scrubbing or shaving the skin.
Of course, stay out of the sun while you’re sunburned
Third, It can become rather boring just sitting indoors by the A/C  all day so I suggest finding something fun to do in the heat.
Get outdoors and embrace the heat. Visit one of the local Beaches, take the kids to a water park or pool, or hit up an ice cream shop. Avoiding both brain freeze and a puddle of melted ice cream could be tricky. Care to give it a try?
Cooling Centers in and around your city: There are plenty of public spots that will open up in and around your city so you have a place to go to cool down.
Go to one of your cities local pools: Most state run dozens of public pools that offer people a place to beat the heat and chill out. The best part is that they’re free.
Visit Ponds & Freshwater Beaches: Most states manage a good number of public ponds and lakes. Most have public restroom facilities available and are staffed with lifeguards. 
Hit the Beach: The ocean breeze and cool water temperatures make the heat a little easier to bear.
Think outside the box: The same movie theaters, museums, and malls that make for great rainy-day activities can double as the perfect hideout from the sun.

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