PRCIL offers reminder on how to avoid heat injuries
PALESTINE, August 16, 2014— During an average summer, some 200 people across the country die due to exposure to high temperatures. Clearly, heat can be a force, especially in our area where temperatures can exceed 100 degrees during the summer months.
Heat wave emergencies can strike very quickly. In 1995, for example, the medical examiner in Chicago, Illinois, was notified of the first heat-related fatalities at 9:00 p.m. on a Friday night. By 8:00 a.m. the following morning, an additional 87 people had died. All were attributed directly to the heat.
To avoid heat injuries:
- Avoid sun from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. when the burning rays are strongest.
- Reduce physical activity.
- Wear a wide-brimmed hat and light colored, lightweight, loose fitting clothing; this reflects heat and sunlight, which helps to maintain a normal body temperature.
- Avoid sudden changes of temperatures (i.e., let a hot car air out before getting into it).
- Avoid hot, heavy meals that include proteins. They increase your metabolism and water loss, as well as hinder your body’s natural way of cooling.
- Set your air conditioning thermostat between 75 and 80 degrees. If you don’t have an air conditioner, take a cool bath or shower twice a day and visit air-conditioned public spaces during the hottest hours of the day.
- Drink plenty of fluids, even if you are not thirsty. Eight to ten glasses of water a day are recommended. Drink even more if you are exercising or working in hot conditions.
- Limit alcohol and caffeine intake as they are diuretics.
- Use a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 if you need to go out in the sun.
Information provided by the Palestine Resource Center for Independent Living, 421 Avenue A., Palestine, Texas, 903-729-7505.