A heat wave is upon us, take heed

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 9, 2002

Ever since the weekend came, we seem to have transformed straight into summertime weather, with the mercury at dangerously high levels.

Every day since Saturday it has been 100 degrees Fahrenheit in mid-afternoon.

This brings with it specific dangers that we should all take heed to, such as rapid dehydration, vitamin and mineral depletion, and heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

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First, if one must go outside, it is better to wear loose-fitting clothing, so that our skin can breathe n it is through perspiration that our bodies are able to cool themselves.

Next and one of the most important precautions of all is to take in large quantities of fluids, such as water, or sports drinks.

Doctors recommend against carbonated beverages in the heat of the day, due the shift that occurs in our fluid-retaining ability because of the carbonation.

The fact is that a carbonated beverage could further increase the chances of dehydration, which in turn could cause one to lose the ability to perspire, and literally cook from the inside out.

Avoid strenuous exercise for any length of time, and if weakness begins to come about, get into a cool environment in the shade, and begin taking in large quantities of water.

A sure sign of approaching heat-related illness is the feeling of being chilled, especially if in a hot environment.

The old saying, "Don't let the bear get a grip on you" comes from that weak and nauseating feeling that comes from loss of fluid.

When in doubt, consult your physician, and if necessary, seek medical attention at the nearest emergency room, or call E-911 to get paramedics to render assistance.

Heat-related illnesses can strike very quickly, and without much warning n their result can many times be fatal.

Take heed, and be prepared for the weather n it could add years to your life.