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Advice to Beat the Heat - Dr. Brent Wauters


Heat kills by pushing the human body beyond its limits. In extreme heat and high humidity, evaporation is slowed and the body must work extra hard to maintain a normal temperature. Dr. Wauters said that most heat disorders occur because the victim has been overexposed to heat or has over-exercised for his or her age and physical condition. Older adults, young children and those who are sick or overweight are more likely to succumb to extreme heat.

Dr. Wauters explains, "During summer weather, it is critical to stay hydrated. Your body depends on water for survival. If you must work in the heat, bring plenty of water with you and keep drinking it throughout the day. If you don't replace the water you lose, you may become dehydrated."

Dr. Wauters encourages his patients to be prepared and build an emergency kit and a family communication plan. Install window air conditioners snugly; insulate if necessary. Check air-conditioning ducts for proper insulation. Install temporary window reflectors such as aluminum foil covered cardboard, to reflect heat back outside. Weather-strips can be added to doors and sills to keep cool air in. Window coverings can reduce the heat entering the home by up to 80 percent.

What you should do if the weather is extremely hot:

Listen to the NOAA Weather Radio for critical updates from the National Weather Service.
Never leave children or pets alone in closed vehicles.
Stay on the lowest floor out of the sunshine if air conditioning is not available.
Postpone outdoor games and activities.
Consider spending the warmest part of the day in public buildings such as libraries, schools, movie theaters, shopping malls, and other community facilities. Circulating air can cool the body by increasing the perspiration rate of evaporation.
Eat well-balanced, light, and regular meals.
Drink plenty of water; even if you do not feel thirsty.
Dress in loose-fitting, lightweight, and light-colored clothes that cover as much skin as possible. Protect face and head by wearing a wide-brimmed hat.
Avoid strenuous work during the warmest part of the day. Use a buddy system when working in extreme heat, and take frequent breaks.
Check on family, friends, and neighbors who do not have air conditioning.