Those lazy, crazy days of summer are here – We need to add “Sizzlin'” to the list of adjectives that describe the days of summer in Columbus, GA and the area. The signs of summer are all around us. The one above is the marquis at the CB&T Bank branch on Macon Road on Monday afternoon Having just returned from a senior tennis tournament in Savannah, I thought some information about dealing with the heat might be beneficial. The players at the tournament practiced many of these tips as the heat index on the courts was over 105 degrees !
In order to keep its temperature balanced and release excessive heat, the body has certain mechanisms, such as perspiration. If the body has trouble keeping its temperature within the normal range certain symptoms may appear:
- swelling of the hands, feet and ankles
- unusual fatigue and exhaustion
- general malaise
In some cases, dehydration symptoms may also appear, including thirst, decreased need to pass urine, dark urine, dry skin and fast pulse and breathing. See a health professional if you have any of these symptoms. Babies and children under the age of 5 are among those with the highest risk of heat-related complications. The deterioration of a child’s health status, especially a young child, can happen quickly and be hard to detect. During a heat wave, it’s important that your child remain well-hydrated – drinking water regularly every 20 minutes.
Certain factors increase the risk of heat-related malaise such as:
- High humidity levels (Columbus definitely has this factor!)
- Faint or lack of wind
- Heat wave early in the summertime before body is acclimated to the heat.
- Living in an urban area where temperatures are usually higher than in rural areas.
Heatstroke is the most serious complication of heat-related harmful effects. It occurs when the body is unable to adequately cool down. It can occur suddenly and must be treated quickly as it is considered a medical emergency. Symptoms of a heatstroke include:
- Fever higher than 103 degrees F
- Dry, red and warm, or pale and cool skin
- Dizziness or light headedness
- Confusion, incoherent speech
- Agressiveness or strange behavior
- General malaise
- Stay well hydrated – at least 6-8 glasses of water per day
- Avoid alcohol
- Cool off regularly – swim, cool bath or shower, apply wet towel to your skin
- Keep physical exertion to a minimum
- Wear light clothing and a hat
- Avoid being outside between the hours of 11 – 3.
- Watch for extreme heat warnings
- Learn to recognize the signs and symptoms of heatstroke and dehydration and see a health professional promptly
Those lazy, hazy days of summer are meant to be enjoyed – Be smart and remember your limitations. Recognize the warning signs of heat-related issues and follow preventative measures to keep them at bay. In a few words ….. BE SMART, SENSIBLE AND HYDRATE, HYDRATE, HYDRATE !!!!!