The AC is blasting, the iced tea is flowing and everybody is looking for the nearest pool. Welcome to summer in the District! For most of us, hot weather is an uncomfortable nuisance. But it’s also a potential health risk that can lead to dehydration, heat exhaustion and even heat stroke.
“We generally start to see patients with heat related illnesses around Memorial Day Weekend and this year has been no exception. With the very high temperatures, we’re seeing patients on a regular basis with heat related issues,” says Michael Silverman, MD, Chairman, Department of Emergency Medicine at Virginia Hospital Center.
Here’s how to stay cool when temperatures rise.
- Keep it loose. Wear loose-fitting clothes in a light color. Opt for cotton if you can.
- Scale back your workout. Exercise early in the morning or later in the evening when air is cooler. Decrease your exertion level. On very hot days, exercise inside in air conditioning.
- Combat dehydration. Drink water to stay hydrated. Avoid caffeine, soft drinks and alcohol.
- Turn off the oven. Try recipes that don’t need cooking.
- Circulate! Run electric or hand-held fans to keep air moving freely. Even when the air conditioning is on, fans help reduce mugginess.
- Beat bedtime heat. Take a bath or shower in tepid water. Keep lotion in the refrigerator and apply before bed.
- Use common sense. On scorching days, stay inside. If you must go out, stick to shady areas and avoid excessive activity. If you don’t have air conditioning at home, spend part of the day somewhere that does, such as a mall, library or movie theatre.
Young children, the elderly, and people with chronic health problems such as heart or lung disease are particularly vulnerable to heat and should always stay in cool places during hot weather.
“Dehydration and heat cramps are the earliest symptoms of heat-related illness. Stop what you’re doing, rest and allow your body to cool down. Drink some water and stretch the muscles that are cramping,” advises Dr. Silverman.
Left untreated, dehydration can lead to heat exhaustion. Symptoms include heavy sweating, weakness, clammy skin, nausea and vomiting, headache and lightheadedness. Move to a cooler location, lie down and loosen your clothing. Apply wet, cool cloths to your body and sip some water. If your symptoms continue, seek medical attention immediately.
Heat exhaustion can progress to heat stroke–a form of hyperthermia in which the body’s temperature regulation system fails. Symptoms include body temperature above 104°F, hot and red skin, confusion, rapid pulse, shallow breathing and possible unconsciousness. Heat stroke is a medical emergency and can be fatal without prompt treatment. Call 911 immediately. While waiting for paramedics to arrive, initiate first aid: move to a cooler location, remove any unnecessary clothing and apply wet, cool cloths to the body, especially the head, neck, armpits and groin.
The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.
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St. Charles offers a play-based curriculum in a welcoming, Christ-centered environment.
Our program focuses on socio-emotional development and kindergarten readiness through hands-on and engaging activities. Our programs offer different schedules ranging from 7:30 am-5:30 pm for students, ages 2-5. We feature a full-day Jr. kindergarten class for older 4’s/5’s. Our facility includes a full-sized gymnasium, school chapel, and library. All of our students enjoy music and physical education weekly. Children have an opportunity to participate in enrichment classes such as soccer, basketball, ballet, and science.
We offer Summer Camp with weekly themes and twice a week water play, including Fun Friday moon bounce. Please join us for our Open House Feb. 3 at 9:30 am and 11:00 am. Click here to sign-up.
For more information or to schedule a tour, visit us at www.stcharlesarlington.org or call (703) 527-0608.
If you are a lifelong learner over 50+ who wants to make new friends, power up your brain, and enjoy a wide-variety college-level courses, Encore Learning is for you. An Arlington based nonprofit, Encore Learning offers courses in the arts, theater, literature, history, technology and more. This semester we offer our most popular course, Global Hot Spots as well as 25 new courses. Courses are presented either online or in-person at George Mason University at Virginia Square and other Arlington locations.
Join the free presentation to learn about courses and meet the instructors. This is Encore Learning’s signature event to highlight the upcoming semester with brief presentations by each instructor.
The Spring Course Preview event is Thursday, February 2nd at 9:30 AM via Zoom:
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