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surviving the summer sun

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Joined: 17 April 2005

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Posted: 08 May 2009 at 4:41am | IP Logged
surviving the summer sun

During very hot weather, there are important tips people should bear in mind to help them keep cool and avoid heat-related illnesses. Fatigue and collapse can occur due to low blood pressure and blood volume, that result from loss of body fluids and salts after prolonged exposure to heat.

During extreme summer weather, not only are daytime temperatures high but temperatures during the night can also be expected to remain high. These night-time highs stop the body from cooling down and recovering from its exposure to daytime heat.

Here are the top 10 tips for surviving the summer sun.

Stay in the shade

The sun is at its most dangerous between 11am and 3pm. You should find shade -under umbrellas, trees or canopies or indoors. Also, remember that the temperature is at least a couple of degrees cooler if you are by water.

Use sunscreen and cover up

If you can not avoid being out in the sun apply sunscreen (factor 15+) and wear a t-shirt, hat and sunglasses. Be especially careful about kids getting burned.

Increase your intake of fluid

The normal recommended daily intake of fluid is 2.5 litres or 8 glasses per day. In extreme heat experts recommend that you drink more and include a range of different fluids.

Ventilate your home

Keep windows open all day and all night and use fans. This is particularly important at night, when the body cools down.

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 of fluids 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 children

Keep 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 exertion

If 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.

Be aware of 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.

Alcohol be sensible

Be aware that hot 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 work

The office is often the coolest place to be in a heatwave. Ask your employer 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 of course skin cancer. Enjoy the summer weather, but be sensible.

This information has been complied from a number of sources, including the Department of Health UK.


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