Summer brings the chance to enjoy fun at the beach, cookouts at the lake and lots of other outdoor fun. Along with the fun, there are also high temperatures, plenty of humidity, and the chance of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. This is especially true during the traditional dog days that run from early July to early September in the Northern Hemisphere in North America. In order to protect yourself from the dangers and still get to enjoy all the sun and fun, try using these simple tips whenever you are outdoors.
First, stay hydrated. Keep beverages with caffeine, sugar, or alcohol to a minimum, as they all promote dehydration. If you are playing sports or involved in some activity such as hiking, make sure there is plenty of fresh water around. It doesn’t hurt to keep low sodium, low sugar sports drinks nearby to help replace some of the nutrients you lose while perspiring.
Choose your clothing with care. You want clothes that allow your skin to breathe with the greatest of ease. Pure cotton garments that are thinly woven are a great option. There are also several synthetic blends that help to wick away perspiration and make it easier to avoid the sticky feeling people often have when working or playing in areas where the humidity level is high. Whatever the choice of fabric, go for light colors that absorb less heat and choose garments that are as loose as possible.
Take along a washcloth when you’ll be outside for awhile. Prepare the cloth ahead of time by soaking it with clean water, placing it in a zipper type sandwich bag, andfreezing it for a couple of hours before leaving the house. As the washcloth thaws in the summer heat, you can use if for instant refreshment. If you are heading to a Sunday afternoon baseball game, remove the washcloth from the bag and drape the cloth around your neck. You’ll be surprised how much easier it is to concentrate on the game and not how the temperature seems to be rising every second.
Grab a spray bottle and fill it with cold water. As you begin to feel uncomfortable in the summer heat, spray a fine mist onto the face, arms, and neck. There are also bottles that come with small rotor type fans that help to distribute the mist evenly. For quick relief, these devices are hard to beat.
In the house, use several tricks to keep the interior comfortable while still minimizing the utility bills. Close drapes and blinds on windows that receive direct sunlight. Use a toaster oven to cook small quantities instead of firing up the oven. Better yet, expand your culinary horizons by trying various types of cold dishes. You’ll be surprised how how tasty these dishes are, and how much fat and cholesterol you remove from diet. Take advantage of the sunlight and dry your clothing on a clothesline instead of using the dryer. You not only reduce the generation of heat in the home, you also get to enjoy the fresh scent that only comes from clothing that is exposed to plenty of sun and fresh air.
You can survive the dog days of summer with a relative amount of comfort and grace, and still do everything you want. With a little planning, the summer heat won’t be as hard to manage, and the chances of overheating and experiencing the discomfort of heat exhaustion can be avoided.