Friday, June 6, 2008

Summer HEAT

It is that time of year again when the sun radiates over you and heats up the air like a steamy oven. Living in the North Georgia mountains I have enjoyed cooler summers since leaving the scorching state of Texas. However, a heat wave is upon us currently and its heating the temperatures up near 100 here and for us we know the drill having been in Texas for so long, but just a precaution and a reminder I thought I would share the precautions from the public health department:

Summer Heat Precautions

During a heat wave the body has to work extra hard to maintain a normal temperature. Excessive heat can result in serious health threats by pushing the human body beyond its limits. Young children, elderly people, and those who are sick or overweight are most at risk.

Measures for Preventing Heat Related Illnesses
NEVER leave children or pets alone in closed vehicles.
Slow down, avoid strenuous activity.
Avoid too much sun.
Plan outdoor games and activities for early morning or evening.
Avoid extreme temperature changes.
Stay indoors as much as possible; use fans or air conditioners to cool the air.
Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing that will cover as much skin as possible.
Protect face and head by wearing a wide brimmed hat.
Drink plenty of fluids, even if you do not feel thirsty, and avoid alcoholic beverages.
Hot Weather Health Emergencies
Heat cramps: Painful spasms, mostly in legs and abdomen, usually the result of heavy exertion and heavy sweating.

Recognizing Heat Cramps
Painful spasms usually in the legs and abdominal muscles that may occur in association with strenuous activity.

What to do
Apply firm pressure to cramping muscles or gently massage to relieve spasms. Replace fluids. Consult your health care provider.

Heat exhaustion: Typically occurs when people exercise heavily or work in a hot, humid place where body fluids are lost through heavy sweating.

Recognizing Heat Exhaustion
Heavy sweating, weakness, cold, pale and clammy skin. Weak pulse. Fainting and vomiting possible.

What to do
Lie down in a cool place. Loosen clothing. Apply cool wet cloths. Fan or move person to air-conditioned place. Take sips of water. Consult your health care provider.

Heat stroke: A medical emergency- the body's temperature control system, which produces sweating to cool the body, stops working. Sunstroke: Another term for heat stroke.

Recognizing Heat Stroke
High body temperature (106+). Hot, dry skin. Rapid, strong pulse. Possible unconsciousness. Individual will likely not sweat.

What to do
Heat stroke is a severe medical emergency. Call 911 or emergency medical services or get the person to a hospital immediately. Move to a cooler environment. Try a cool bath or sponging to reduce body temperature. Use fans and/or air conditioners, to cool the body. DO NOT GIVE FLUIDS.

Oh course its always wise to keep hydrated and cool the best you can in the heat. Take care to be considerate to the elderly and check on them quite frequently. If you have a neighbor or friend that you know doesn't have air conditioning maybe trying to find something to help would be friendly.

Try to keep even a small wading pool available for the kids and pets to soak in if you find the heat overwhelming. It's a nice change of pace in the evenings when the sun is going down and the heat is still lingering.

Don't forget your precious plants as well they do sunburn and need to be moved into a more filtered sunlight, if not able to do that then remember to water them very very early in the morning or late in the evening at dusk so that the water doesn't stand on the leaves and petals and cause it to BOIL and burn the plant even more.

Now is a great time to make ice pops for your kids and self. I like to take ice trays and fill them with juice and put them in the freezer the kids like to just crush them in a bowl to eat or even use them in there drinks for ice cubes. Cherry juices makes a great cherry cola or even a peach juice for your iced tea. You can use the juice reserves off of your canned peaches and other fruits to make tasty treats that will cool you down.

Enjoy the longer days and the warmth of the golden sun but take care not to stay out in it too long with out proper clothing and sun screen. It only takes minutes for a child to start burning and adults as well if you are fair skinned like me and my family. Wear hats and sunglasses as much as possible and be weary of pooling water around that gives mosquitioes places to lay their eggs. After a rain dump out any empty pots or containers where water has pooled.