Tips for dealing with summer heat

Published 11:26 am Tuesday, June 25, 2024

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Climate scientists this spring warned that the summer of 2024 could be even hotter than that of past years. Why is it so hot in Northeast Tennessee this summer? The National Weather Service said it is a condition that occurs when the persistent region of high pressure traps heat over a certain area for a period of time. Our area is right on the edge of the dome that has settled over much of the Northeast and Midwest.

There have been several 90 degree days in the past couple of weeks, and this weekend’s forecast calls for sweltering heat, especially on Saturday and Sunday. How do you deal with extreme summer heat?

For starters, wear light and loose-fitting clothing. Consider visiting an air-conditioned building such as a shopping center or public library. Use blinds or curtains to block sun from shining directly through windows. Open windows and doors if you think it is hotter indoors than outdoors.

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While basking in the sunshine is a wonderful thing, extreme heat can be deadly, affecting younger and older people, pregnant women, and those with chronic health conditions.

But there’s a lot we can do to protect ourselves and our loved ones from the heat.

The American Red Cross recommends these tips:

It’s best to avoid going out during the hottest hours of the day, but sometimes that can’t be avoided. When out in direct sunlight remember: 

– Wear (and regularly reapply) sunscreen. 

– Cover your head with a hat.

– Take regular breaks indoors or in a shady area to avoid getting heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

– Wearing light-coloured, loose-fitting clothing will also help you to stay cool.

You can quickly cool yourself down by putting your hands and feet in cold water. Wrists and ankles have lots of pulse points where blood vessels are close to the skin, so you will cool down more quickly.

– Drink plenty of water in hot weather. It’s important to avoid caffeine and make sure you’re drinking lots of water. If possible, drink isotonic sports drinks to replenish the lost salts, sugars, and fluids.

Both cool and hot drinks will work to keep your core temperature at the same temperature. Consuming hot drinks will not cool you down more effectively than cold drinks. In the heat, you should avoid drinks containing caffeine, including tea and coffee. It’s typically best to stick to water.

As you sweat throughout the day, the liquids you are losing need to be replaced to avoid dehydration.

Eat light meals to feel cooler. When it’s hot, you are far better off sticking to light, well-balanced, regular meals. Food with a high water content like strawberries, cucumber, celery, and lettuce will also help to keep you hydrated and cool in summer weather.

Limit physical activity to cooler parts of the day. Take the temperature into consideration when planning your day and, if you can, limit physical activity to when it’s cooler. If you do decide to workout or play sports, make sure to drink lots of water and take more breaks than usual to make sure you’re not putting any extra stress on your body. 

With temperatures soaring and high humidity this weekend, people need to be cautious when being outside in the heat, especially very young and older people.

Extreme heat makes it difficult for the body to keep its temperature in a normal range and can cause a number of conditions. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are both possibilities when people are outside during high heat. 

Play it smart this weekend, and stay cool. Remember, summer has just begun.