Hot Weather: Notes to Self

I have spent time sitting in a car, windows down, in the shade, on a hot day, and have noted just how hot I was sitting there. From experience, I’m not one to take lightly the warnings about leaving ANYTHING I care about in a car on a hot day. I was however surprised and duly reminded when I read about what helps keep us cool during extreme heat. Selected from the During Extreme Heat section at Ready.gov:

  • Drink plenty of water; even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid drinks with caffeine.
  • Limit intake of alcoholic beverages.

Soooo, that iced coffee or cold beer? Probably not doing as much good as I wish it was. Note to self: try sipping water with a squeeze of lemon, lime, or orange. Rinse face and neck with a bit of it too. Have the cold beer later.

From the Before Extreme Heat section, something I witnessed last summer:

Heat Cramps – Muscular pains and spasms due to heavy exertion. Although heat cramps are the least severe, they are often the first signal that the body is having trouble with the heat.

Heat Exhaustion – Typically occurs when people exercise heavily or work in a hot, humid place where body fluids are lost through heavy sweating. Blood flow to the skin increases, causing blood flow to decrease to the vital organs. This results in a form of mild shock. If not treated, the victim’s condition will worsen. Body temperature will keep rising and the victim may suffer heat stroke.

Heat Stroke – A life-threatening condition. The victim’s temperature control system, which produces sweating to cool the body, stops working. The body temperature can rise so high that brain damage and death may result if the body is not cooled quickly.

Sun Stroke – Another term for heat stroke.

I was out at a park visiting an art show. It was 102° outside and not a lot of wind. I saw a woman who “had to sit down, feeling a little lightheaded.” She was adamant that she’d be ok. In fact, her face was flush and she wasn’t making a lot of sense when asked common questions. We called ‘911’ and learned that she was experiencing heat stroke. (She was cooled and treated in the ambulance, and was ok a while later.)

Note to self: If I start to feel lightheaded and have to sit down, and others ask what year it is and I don’t know? Let them help me. Walk to the nearest library or cool building and sit there for a while. Drink some water, take it easy.

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