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Surviving the Summer Heat Wave

Titilaok May 12,2013 0 Comments

Words by: Francis Christian Lubag

aybe the saying about constants needs to be updated. There are now four constants in this world: death, taxes, changes and the seemingly unforgiving heat. And while there are life adversities that we try to enjoy, there are also situations that we have to learn to live by. There are things that we just have to survive.

And believe me, it’s not just happening here in the good ol’ Philippines, it’s everywhere. So whether you’re going to visit the motherland for a vacation or simply just want to go out to run an errand or go to work, we have to know the things we need to observe and avoid to survive this punishing climate. Besides, heat stroke isn’t a joke; people have died from it.

Stay In
Unless completely necessary, it is best to stay indoors during this time of the year. Remember that the hottest time of the day is from mid-morning to mid-afternoon. Enjoy the shade and the comfort of your electric fans or air conditioners and cut the hassle of having to endure the summer heat. However, be forewarned: overheating appliances most especially electric fans is one of the most prevalent causes of fire during summer.

“Lighten” Up
No, feeling well-ventilated when wearing light-colored clothes is not just an illusion. There’s science behind it. Light-colored fabrics tend to deflect light better and as such, heat also tends to bounce off from it. On the other end of the spectrum, dark colored clothes absorb more light and consequently heat, which is why we feel like our bodies are broiling inside an oven whenever we’re sporting a black shirt or blouse on a hot summer day. Also, try wearing clothes made from cotton as it allows better air circulation.

Keep Hydrated
Doctors say we need to drink eight glasses of water a day. At a time like this, eight doesn’t seem enough. In fact, it is best if we’ll always have a water bottle with us to keep us hydrated whenever we’re outside. Dehydration is a real problem and often times the cause of more dangerous medical issues such as heat stroke. And while it is summer and many among us are taking vacations, we must try to limit our intake of alcohol and caffeine-based liquids as these can lead to dehydration.

Cool Down
Go out and hit the beach or a pool. But if you don’t have the time to take a trip, take a shower more often. Cooling down our body helps in regulating our body temperature and avoiding the detrimental effects of the sun.

Bring Protection
There are a number of items that we can use to give us some form of shade while we’re outside — umbrellas, hats and sunglasses. It is important that we always have these things, most especially if we will go on trips. Keep in mind though that hats are better than caps as the former provides protection to our ears, neck and nape as well unlike the cap that only gets to cover our head and face.

Use Sunscreen
Sorry guys, sunscreens aren’t just for girls — especially since we’re as likely to get heat stroke or worse, skin cancer as the ladies. With that being said, it is not enough to just grab sunscreen and pour it all over our bodies as we go out. It is equally important to learn how to choose and use the sunscreen correctly. First off, choose sunscreens with SPF15 or higher. SPF refers to Sun Protection Factor, which is the rate or effectiveness the sunscreen can protect us from harmful ultraviolet rays from the sun. Furthermore, it is also important to get water-resistant sunscreens so it won’t easily wear off when we go swimming in the beach or in the pool. It is also important to apply the sunscreen evenly on our exposed body parts at least two hours before you go out and regardless of how long the sunscreen says it sticks, it is best if we reapply it every two hours.

And with all the precautionary measures mentioned above, it is also important to know the first signs of dehydration and heat stroke to determine the initial course of action while waiting or on the way to seek medical attention. Early warning signs of dehydration include, but not limited to, dry mouth, thirst, fatigue, dizziness, headaches and dry skin. You can determine if someone is suffering from heat stroke if one experiences severe headache, light-headedness, hot dry skin, cramps, nausea and vomiting, shallow breathing, disorientation and confusion and worse, unconsciousness. While these are the tell-tale signs of medical issues, it is not enough to self-diagnose and cool them down with water or a bath. Most of the time, it is best to get medical attention to determine the proper course of action in each particular case.

Taking these things in mind and actually observing them will definitely help us survive this heat wave. And maybe we can even enjoy more if we follow the tips above and avoid spending the summer break at the hospital.

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