Monday, July 17, 2006

Ten Tips for Surviving Summer Sun

I spent most of the hot day yesterday in a field in Essex, where we were camping for the night, a birthday party, the sun came out at 7, the roosters were waking everyone up anyway, though thankfully our tent had shade till about 9. just getting ready and packing up took hours, it was very nice out there but there was little shade and the little there was wasn't all that effective, there was a tree but not all trees give proper shade, and a marquee, but again they are bit dodgy in my book when it's as hot as this. I did a brief walk through the baking countryside and came across a car full of half naked young guys sitting in a small lane in the shade, they were just 'cooling down' one of them explained as he let me pass through. . Anyway, i'm really feeling the heat and it's not so nice, headache seems to have just about receded, and i don't want to feel like i did yesterday evening again. So for the next few days I'll follow the common sense guidelines issued by the Department of Health...

The Department of Health advises people to take the following action:
Stay in the shade or indoors.The sun is at its most dangerous between 11am and 3pm. Find shade under umbrellas, trees or canopies. It is worth remembering that the temperature is at least a couple of degrees cooler if you are by water.
Use sunscreen and cover up.If you can't avoid being out in the sun apply sunscreen (factor 15+) and wear a t-shirt, hat and sunglasses.
Increase your fluid intake.The normal recommended daily intake of fluid is 2.5 litres or 8 glasses per day. In extreme heat experts recommend you drink more and include a range of different fluids.
Ventilate your home.Keep some windows open all day and all night and use fans. This is particularly important at night, when the body cools down. However, be careful because burglars are opportunist and will use open windows to get in. Close downstairs or easily accessible windows at night, or when you are in the garden.
Look after the elderly.Older people are more prone to the effects of heat. If you have older relatives or neighbours you can help simply by checking on them and reminding them to drink plenty and often. They should have a mixture of drinks including tea, fruit juice and water. Also help them to keep their house as cool as possible, using a fan if necessary.
Protect childrenKeep a close eye on young children, who need plenty of fluids. A good way to check if they are drinking enough is that they are passing urine regularly and that it is not too dark. You should check nappies regularly. Babies and the very young must be kept out of the sun.
Avoid excessive physical exertionIf you are taking physical exercise you need to drink half a litre of fluid at least half an hour beforehand and continue to replenish your fluids after exercising.
Know the perils of outdoor eating.Warm summer weather is a perfect breeding ground for bacteria so it is especially important to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold until you are ready to eat them. When barbecuing always make sure you cook meat until it is piping hot, none of it is pink and all juices run clear.
Be sensible with alcoholHot weather speeds up the effects of alcohol so extra care should be taken when drinking. Alcohol will lead to dehydration so make sure that you alternate alcoholic drinks with water or fruit juice.
Keep cool at workThe office is often the coolest place to be in a heatwave. Ask your boss for air-conditioning or fans and open windows where possible. Keep windows shaded with blinds and if possible move your working position out of direct sunlight. Have plenty of breaks during the day to get cold drinks and cool down.
These precautionary measures will help increase protection from heat exhaustion and sunstroke as well as food poisoning and skin cancer.
A Department of Health spokesperson said:
"This week's temperatures are unusually high and people need to take extra care. The tips issued today are common sense precautions and will help people enjoy the weather whilst protecting themselves from the dangerous, and potentially fatal, effects of these temperatures


David E. Patton said...

last week we had a heat wave where it reached 100 and a bit more. Then wil had some high winds that took out the electrity so no air. The city was concern with the old ones who couldn't use their air. so they open up some cooling off centers where people could go to stay cool. For some the electrity is still off after a week without it. But now our is on.

thomas said...

Hey I'm glad you got electricity back - that must have been difficult. And yeah, I'm concerned about elderly people too...