Net Research by Nighat Saleem, Dubai U.A.E
Are you at risk for hot weather illness and injury?

wpeE.gif (1995 bytes) Everyone should take care to avoid heat stoke, sunburn, and other weather-related illnesses this summer. But, certain people may be at higher risk. Are you in one of these categories?

  • People over 65
  • Small children
  • People with heart or kidney problems or high-blood pressure
  • People who are overweight
  • People who keep windows shut and do not have air conditioning
  • People in cities (concrete and asphalt retain heat)
  • People on certain medicines including tranquilizers, antibiotics, and birth-control pills

Whether or not you fall into one of these categories, here are some precautions to take this summer:

wpeF.gif (1368 bytes)Increase the amount of fluids (like water or juice) that you drink, even if you are not exercising more than you normally do. If you do exercise when it is hot outside, drink 2-4 glasses of cool water every hour!

Keep in mind that you will need to drink more water than your thirst tells you to, especially if you are over age 65. As we age, our bodies are not as good at controlling body temperature, Older adults need to make a special effort to drink plenty of fluids.

Avoid very cold drinks which can cause stomach cramps. Also, avoid alcohol which can cause the body to lose fluids.

Sweating takes salt and minerals away from the body. The best way to replace them is to drink fruit juice or sports drinks if you you exercise. People who are on a low-salt diet should talk to their doctor before drinking sports drinks which can be very salty.

Choose lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. When you go outside, wear a hat to keep sun off your face.

Wear sunscreen at all times. We all know that sunburn is painful, but it also affects the body’s ability to cool itself. Wearing sunscreen and staying out of the direct sun will also help prevent skin cancer. Choose a sunscreen that is waterproof (so it will not wash of with sweat) and one with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or greater. Put sunscreen on at least 30 minutes before going out in the sun and reapply often throughout the day.

Keep in mind that the sun is hottest when it is highest in the sky (between 10am and 4pm). Avoid the sun in the middle of the day to prevent heat stroke and sunburn.

wpe10.gif (1739 bytes) Being active in the sun takes a toll on our bodies. With this in mind, take it easy when working outdoors, playing sports, or doing yard work.

Heat exhaustion or "heat stroke" is the body’s response to losing too much water and salt through sweat. Older people and infants, people with high blood pressure, and people working or exercising in the hot sun are most likely to get heat stroke.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion include: heavy sweating, headache, dizziness, muscle cramps, fainting and nausea (feeling sick to your stomach). If you have any of these symptoms, STOP! Find a cool area, sit down and drink a glass of cool water. Try a cool shower or bath. If you do not feel better in an hour, see your doctor. Heat exhaustion can be dangerous.

Clear the air!

If you live in a home with no air-conditioner, use fans instead. Keep in mind that windows must be open in order for fans to work! Turning fans on with windows closed will only circulate hot air


Swim Safely:

The beach or pool is a great way to beat the heat, but follow a few safety rules to prevent injuries and drowning.

Never leave children unattended near water. It takes less than a minute for a child to drown. Do not expect that you will hear a child in trouble. They often do not make a sound.

Take all water toys out of the pool after swimming. These toys can tempt small children to water.

Avoid eating a big meal before swimming which can cause cramps and lead to drowning.

Enforce basic pool rules: no running around the pool, no glass, no rough-housing in the pool, no diving in the shallow end. Get out of the water if you see signs of a storm to avoid lightening.

Always wear a personal floatation device (PFD) when you are on a boat, even if you know how to swim. Even experienced swimmers can drown if they fall overboard.

Be a Good Neighbor:

wpe11.gif (2415 bytes)  When the weather gets very hot, check on older friends, relatives and neighbors living in your area. Since seniors are especially sensitive to hot weather and may be living alone, volunteer to check in on them daily during the summer. A phone call once a day could save a life. Make sure that seniors have windows open, fans and a place to go in case the heat gets to be too much for them.