High temperatures and humidity are part of summer life in Collierville, but when someone asks what you did on your summer vacation, you don’t want to say ‘recovered from heatstroke’. Residents need to review the basics of beating the heat often. Here they are, with certain not-so-common-knowledge details highlighted:
1. Slow down. Reschedule, reduce or eliminate strenuous activities during the hottest part of the day. Many Spanish and Hispanic American countries are known for their siestas or afternoon naps. It’s a custom worth copying. Adequate rest helps the body to regulate heat. Save strenuous work or outside activities for the cooler parts of the day such as in the morning or evening.
2. Dress for summer. It’s time to pull out lightweight and light colored clothing. Cover all skin with a high SPF sunscreen. Sunburns make the job of heat dissipation difficult. Wear wide-brimmed hats and caps to protect the face and head.
3. Keep hydrated. Drink plenty of water or sports drinks diluted with water. Avoid alcohol, coffee and carbonated drinks, all of which tend to dehydrate the body. Many of summer’s delicious fruits like watermelons and cantaloupes are good sources for keeping hydrated too. If you know beforehand that the following day will be filled with strenuous activity such as yard work or sports, it is helpful to drink lots of water the prior day or evening.
4. Stay cool. Stay indoors and make use of electric fans or air conditioners. Many public areas like movie theaters, libraries and shopping malls are air conditioned. Cool showers help the body to stay comfortable. If headed outdoors, stick to shady spots.
5. Be a good neighbor. Check on others including young children, older neighbors and those with medical conditions. Children and the elderly are more susceptible to the heat. Offer cold water to those who mow your lawn or work outdoors.
6. Beware of overheated vehicles. Never leave children or pets in cars, even if the vehicle is parked in the shade. The inside of a vehicle heats up very quickly. Even with the windows cracked, the temperature inside a car on a hot day can reach 125 degrees in minutes. (KidsandCars.org.)
7. Remember your pets. Provide outdoor animals with a source of shade and fresh water, refilling their bowls frequently. If possible, bring pets indoors on particularly hot and humid days.
These simple tips can help you to chill, not swelter, this summer!