Archive for Wednesday, July 24, 2002

Beating the heat

If you must be outside, take some precautions

July 24, 2002

As summer temperatures climb, the chances of heat-related health problems increase.

"It could be dangerous," said Dr. Philip Stevens, a Tonganoxie physician. "It's a definite hazard, and people need to take precautions."

Here are some reminders about precautions to take in the summer heat:

Drink plenty of fluids, and try to avoid drinks containing alcohol, caffeine or much sugar.

Ask your physician or pharmacist about the effects of heat and sun exposure on prescription drugs.

Wear sun block, hats and loose, light clothes.

Safety can be a particular concern for people who must spend time outdoors, as well as those people who are indoors without air conditioning.

"You should wear a hat and stay in the shade, if you can get shade, and stay in a breeze if you can get a breeze," Stevens said. "And as much as you can, stay in air conditioning. They say at 90 degrees, a fan doesn't do much good. It just moves the air around."

It's important, Stevens said, for people to keep their bodies hydrated. He recommends drinking lots of fluids.

"You want to watch your electrolytes sodium, potassium," he said. "Sports drinks are good. And lots of water."

For three days last week, city crews worked in searing temperatures laying hot asphalt, which can run be-tween 175 and 230 degrees, according to Norm Jepson. As crews put down about 2,000 tons of asphalt on Church Street, Village Street Terrace, First Street, Elmwood Court and Bury Street, they were well aware of the heat.

"We drink mainly water and Gatorade, and lots of it," Jepson said.

Warning signs that your body is having difficulty in the heat include dizziness, weakness and faintness, Stevens said. And very young, very old and chronically ill people should take special heed of warnings about heat.

Stevens suggested that area residents who do not have access to air conditioning should consider going to a movie theater, the swimming pool or the public library during hot afternoons.

"Catch up on your reading and get cooled off," he said.

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