Ahhhh…… swimming, grilling, boating, concerts – all signs of summer fun! As we’re entering into late spring/summer here in HOTlanta and other parts of the country with temperatures rising fast, there are many of us – myself included – who, because of health reasons, will not be able to participate in the beautiful outdoors and the many activities that come with summer fun. I still enjoy the outdoors and all the fun-filled things that come with it, but because of my heart disease and my skin disorder, I must contend with keeping inside, keeping cool. For myself, I’m not even able to be directly in the heat/sun for at least more than I’d say 1-2 hours. When you factor in the bright sun, the rising temperatures and humidity in the air, that makes for such a disastrous recipe for heat-related illnesses. But that’s okay, I can find many ‘cool’ things to do!
Those most at risk for heat strokes are
- People who are 65 and older, especially living alone and may possibly be without air-conditioning
- Babies and young children
- Those who have existing medical conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure and lung disease
- Certain medications such as psychiatric meds, diuretics (water pills), or beta blockers as these types of medications can dehydrate you.
- People who exert themselves outdoors, whether it’s by working and/or athletes
Here are a few tips I want to share with everyone in preventing heat strokes, heat exhaustion and other heat-related illnesses:
– If you’re a person without transportation and you need to get out to handle your business affairs, either get out at the earliest time possible, i.e., hours between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. If you’re too exhausted to take public transportation, then save your money and utilize your funds by letting others do the driving for you such as Uber, Lyft or your standard taxicab. Actually, Uber is less expensive than your standard taxi!
– Drink plenty of fluids – nonalcoholic and nonsugary drinks, that is – in order to keep yourself hydrated. Avoid really cold drinks as they can cause stomach cramps.
– if you have a medical condition such as heart disease, stay indoors and stay in air-conditioning. You should always have phone numbers and addresses to your local shelters and your local fire department in case of power outages and/or you are without air-conditioning. What I love about the South (which I’m sure happens in other parts of the country) is that your local television station (at least WSB-TV here in Atlanta) will broadcast warnings if the ozone is too heavy and will give warnings to those with medical conditions that it is too hot to come outdoors, especially those with respiratory problems, heart problems or other medical issues that will put you at risk for the possibility of heat strokes or heath-related deaths.
– Check on your elderly neighbors as they are very susceptible to becoming ill in the heat. A lot of elderly people are very quiet, very stubborn and will not say much. It is our obligation to take the time to check on them, their surroundings and to make sure they are healthy and content. If you find that their conditions are not adequate, then purchase a fan or take them to a shelter or hotel for a night or two, or call your local social services in the community to ensure that they get the help they need!
Enjoy the summer and stay cool!