Keeping Cool and Safe in the Heat, at the Beach

Editor’s Note: Please read the essay, Drowning Doesn’t Look Like Drowning, linked at the end of this article. We’re not likely to see airport runways melting, and many Huntington residents will avoid the worst of Sunday’s heat with air conditioning. But the heat and humidity can pose dangers for many, including those who are chronically ill, older residents, and children.

The CDC and others offer these heat-safety tips:

  • Stay in an air-conditioned indoor location as much as you can.
  • Drink plenty of fluids even if you don’t feel thirsty.
  • Schedule outdoor activities carefully.
  • Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing and sunscreen.
  • Pace yourself.
  • Take cool showers or baths to cool down.
  • Check on a friend or neighbor and have someone do the same for you.
  • Never leave children or pets in cars.
  • Check the local news for health and safety updates.
  • Rest your feet in a bucket of cool water
  • Avoid hot and heavy meals

Recognize the stages of too much heat exposure.

Heat Stroke

WHAT TO LOOK FOR
  • High body temperature (103°F or higher)
  • Hot, red, dry, or damp skin
  • Fast, strong pulse
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Losing consciousness (passing out)
WHAT TO DO
  • Call 911 right away-heat stroke is a medical emergency
  • Move the person to a cooler place
  • Help lower the person’s temperature with cool cloths or a cool bath
  • Do not give the person anything to drink

Heat Exhaustion

WHAT TO LOOK FOR
  • Heavy sweating
  • Cold, pale, and clammy skin
  • Fast, weak pulse
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Muscle cramps
  • Tiredness or weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Fainting (passing out)
WHAT TO DO
  • Move to a cool place
  • Loosen your clothes
  • Put cool, wet cloths on your body or take a cool bath
  • Sip water

Get medical help right away if:

  • You are throwing up
  • Your symptoms get worse
  • Your symptoms last longer than 1 hour

Heat Cramps

WHAT TO LOOK FOR
  • Heavy sweating during intense exercise
  • Muscle pain or spasms
WHAT TO DO
  • Stop physical activity and move to a cool place
  • Drink water or a sports drink
  • Wait for cramps to go away before you do any more physical activity

Get medical help right away if:

  • Cramps last longer than 1 hour
  • You’re on a low-sodium diet
  • You have heart problems

Sunburn

WHAT TO LOOK FOR
  • Painful, red, and warm skin
  • Blisters on the skin
WHAT TO DO
  • Stay out of the sun until your sunburn heals
  • Put cool cloths on sunburned areas or take a cool bath
  • Put moisturizing lotion on sunburned areas
  • Do not break blisters

Heat Rash

WHAT TO LOOK FOR
  • Red clusters of small blisters that look like pimples on the skin (usually on the neck, chest, groin, or in elbow creases)
WHAT TO DO
  • Stay in a cool, dry place
  • Keep the rash dry
  • Use powder (like baby powder) to soothe the rash

 

The Red Cross says that If you’re out at the beaches, which are likely to be crowded Sunday, do this:

  • Always swim in a lifeguarded area
  • Never swim alone, regardless of your age or level of swimming skills
  • Keep within your fitness and swimming capabilities.
  • Be aware of weather and water conditions and heed warnings.

And watch out for swimmers who may in trouble, even if they look okay. In an essay entitled, Drowning Doesn’t Look Like Drowning, former Coast Guard rescue swimmer Mario Vittone wrote, “Drowning doesn’t look like the violent, splashing call for help that most people expect.”

 

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