By Sarah Allen-Sutter
You know it is summer in Yolo County when you say, “The weather won’t be too hot this week. It will only be in the high 90s.” August is upon us, and temperatures remain high. These hot temperatures can be dangerous, especially for older adults and those with illnesses, who are at higher risk for heat exhaustion and stroke. Read on to find out how you can stay cool and hydrated in the remaining weeks of summer.
Stay in air-conditioned buildings as much as possible when it is hot out. Do not rely on a fan as your main cooling source during a heat wave. If your home does not have air conditioning, find a public air-conditioned building, such as a library, to spend time in. During major heat waves, Yolo County cities will usually provide cooling centers for the public during the day. Find a cooling center near you here (You will need to scroll down the page a bit and click "Okay."): https://www.yolocounty.org/government/general-government-departments/office-of-emergency-services/summer-weather-resources
Keep your house as cool as possible by covering your windows with shades or curtains and avoiding using the oven and stove. Eat lighter meals; hot, heavy meals can add heat to your body. Take cool showers and baths to help cool you down and wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
Drink more water than usual, even if you do not feel thirsty. When it's hot outside, try to drink water every 15-20 minutes. Limit beverages that contain alcohol, caffeine, and sugar, as these can dehydrate you further. If your doctor limits the amount of fluids you drink or has you on water pills, ask them how much you should drink during hot weather.
Sports drinks can help replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat. If you are on a low-salt diet, have diabetes, high blood pressure, or other chronic conditions, talk with your doctor before drinking a sports beverage or taking salt tablets.
During severe heat, do not engage in strenuous activities and be sure to get plenty of rest. Plan your most high-energy activities for early in the morning and later in the day, when the temperatures are cooler.
If you must go outdoors, protect your skin with a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen, and keep to the shade when possible. Remember to reapply your sunscreen throughout the day. Sunburns not only have long-term effects on your skin, but can also prevent your body from properly cooling down and leave your body dehydrated.
Watch for Heat-Related Illnesses
Monitor yourself and others for heat-related illnesses. Symptoms may include the following:
· Muscle pains, cramps, or spasms
· Heavy sweating, paleness, weakness, dizziness, headache nausea or vomiting
· Confusion, fainting or unconsciousness
· High body temperature (over 103 degrees) with dry skin (not sweating)
· Rapid pulse
The CDC has a useful graphic for symptoms of heat-related illness, and what to do in each situation:
You can view the text version of the graphic here: https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/warning.html#text
Keep others safe
During hot weather, check on your neighbors and friends, and be sure someone will check on you, especially if you live alone. Don’t forget about your pets! Keep their water dishes full, keep pets in air-conditioning, and never leave them in the hot car.
Do not wait to seek medical care if you have, or someone you know has, symptoms of heat-related illness like muscle cramps, headaches, nausea or vomiting.
Information obtained from the CDC