(BLACK PR WIRE) – The increase of temperatures to 90 degrees and beyond in many parts of the country can mean only one thing: summer is here! After coming out of the freeze of an unprecedented cold winter season, many of us looked forward to this time of year for family vacations, get-togethers, and just plain fun in the sun. Yet, just as with extreme cold weather, summers can be too hot in terms of your health as well as your personal comfort.
African-Americans are not immune from the increased risk of sunburns, but that is not the only danger of sun exposure. There is also the risk of heat exhaustion, which is generally a forerunner to heat stroke. Heat stroke is an especially urgent condition, and can lead to organ damage or death if the sufferer does not receive immediate treatment. If you feel even mildly disoriented, nauseous or aching, it is possibly the beginning of heat exhaustion. You should drink water and move to cooler surroundings as soon as possible. If the symptoms still remain after several minutes or get worse, seek medical attention.
Summer weather is typically hottest from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The easiest way to keep cool is to spend time indoors in air-conditioned facilities during these times. When you plan to be spending time outdoors, look for light-colored, loose-fitting clothes made out of natural fibers, such as cotton and linen. You’ve probably heard that drinking fluids will prevent dehydration, but make sure they are the right fluids. Caffeine, alcohol and sugary drinks actually dehydrate the body, so water is best.
As with most health risks, young children and the elderly are hit hardest and extra precautions must be taken to protect them from excessive heat. Be especially alert if you run errands with young children in your car. Without air conditioning, temperatures inside a closed car are significantly warmer than the outside air. In this circumstance, a child in an overheated car can die of heat stroke within minutes. Never leave a child alone in a car for any amount of time. If the child rides in the back seat, place a noticeable toy in the front seat or a personal item – such as your wallet or handbag – in the back seat as a visual reminder to check on the child. Follow these safety precautions and you and your family can chill out in safety this summer.