Just two weeks since the summer solstice and the temperatures have been at an all-time and almost suffocating high. Here in the NEK we try not to sweat the small stuff (pun intended) but with high heat and humidity it’s hard not to feel like a melting mess. Before you let this heat drive you to heatstroke, don’t lose hope, you can find healthful and safe ways to cope without daydreaming about winter even while we battle this global pandemic.
It’s hot! When we are hot, we naturally produce more sweat to try to cool our bodies. If you can’t find a cool place to beat the heat, you work or live in places without air conditioning, you may be sweating even more than the average person. Sweating is an easy way to start losing valuable hydration. What’s important and the easiest way to stay healthy during this time of year, is to drink lots and lots of water. The saying that, “if you are feeling thirsty means you may already be dehydrated,” is true. Do your best to not allow yourself to even get thirsty and keep sipping steadily throughout the day. If you sweat a lot and you work in areas that induce more sweating, you may need even more fluids or sports drink to help replenish all you may be sweating out. Be smart and plan by drinking plenty of fluids to get you through your day! Keep lots of healthy fluids on hand and try to stick to plain old water or even seltzer waters that aren’t filled with extra calories and sugars. Just because you are sweating, doesn’t mean you are burning more calories.
Speaking of burning calories, you may be concerned about how to keep up your fitness routine with such high heat that doesn’t seem to let up even in the morning or evening. It can be very dangerous to be exerting yourself in high heat. Heat exhaustion can be a real worry, and if you like to walk or run outside alone this could be a danger for you. If you must be outside look for extra-shady places to help keep you from direct sunlight. Get your workout in early before the heat builds or wait until the evening if you can. BUT, if you can, find a well-ventilated and preferably air-conditioned indoor space to get your workout in. The Wellness Center is hosting virtual workouts most days of the week too! These workouts can be done at home in front of your A/C or even in your basement where things are coolest! For more information on our virtual classes email firstname.lastname@example.org. Working out puts healthy stress on the body yet doing it in this heat can turn it into an unhealthy situation. Do yourself a favor- stay committed to your routine by looking for indoor options, videos or classes that will let you sweat safely.
If you are like most people here in the Kingdom you probably have your favorite lake or water hole you head to, to cool off. Don’t lose sight that although the water may be cooling you down, you aren’t still vulnerable to the sun. Avoid spending too long outside in the direct sunlight and always wear sunscreen and sun-safe clothing. Make sure to pack lots of water and water-filled foods like fruit to make the trip to the beach not only cooling but extra hydrating as well. Masks are also a must if you are meeting up with friends and family outside your household. Try to keep a safe social distance so you don’t have to worry about mask lines but consider a mask a must when up close and personal with friends at the beach.
Now is also the time to watch older friends and family for signs of dehydration and heat stroke. If you notice someone isn’t “acting right,” or they seem confused, it could be a sign of both. If you notice a sudden rash or they complain of lightheadedness and or being cold (when you know its hot out these are warning signs that could warrant a call to their primary healthcare provider. If someone is passing out or unable to walk, stand, these are all situations that may need a trip to the emergency room as they may be in a state of dehydration that requires medical attention. Not to mention, many of our older community have been shut in for over 100 days now. Give your neighbor a call and see how they are. They may need help with putting in a fan or A/C. Grab your mask and help a neighbor out. Be sure to wash your hands well afterward!
Other tips for keeping cool: Avoid using your dryer and dry clothes in the sun, look for oven free ways to prep meals, wear lightweight clothing, buy a personal fan just for you, take a cool shower, use a cooling towel, load up on ice packs that you can place on the back of your neck or back to cool down, pull your shades, go to the beach, spritz yourself with water, buy a kiddie pool, wear loose clothing, take breaks when doing strenuous work, eat cold foods, and that’s just to name some of the ways that may help!
After such a long cold winter followed by our new routine of “stay home, stay safe,” we all really crave some sunshine and warm days. This doesn’t mean we can be ignorant of the risks that these heatwaves can cause; not only for you, your children and families, but also for your pets. Look out for each other, try to keep each other hydrated and as we all know, we may need a little extra patience with each other until the heat subsides. You can and should still enjoy your summer, be active and make memories, but do it safely. Grab your mask, hand sanitizer, water bottle, cooling towel and if you have to park yourself in front of a fan, no one can judge you when it comes to finding ways to cool down right now, because it’s too darn hot!
Director of The Wellness Center