Five Ways to Beat The Heat

Record Searchlight, Tuesday, July 26, 2016 by Nathan Solis nathan.solis@redding.com

Keep Out of the Sun and Stay Hydrated

It gets hot here every summer, but this week will be especially brutal with nonstop triple-digit temperatures baking the region. Here are Five ways to keep your cool and stave off heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

  1. Water is your friend. Drink lots of water, mothers and doctors advise. It’s drilled into the heads of anyone who has ever played a sport or taken a health class. Ordering a venti double-chocolate cafe smoothie does not count. In fact, caffeinated drinks make it more difficult to stay hydrated. The same goes for sugary fruit drinks, said Dr. Andrew Deckert, health officer at the Shasta County Public Health Department. He encourages drinking water before you ever feel thirsty. “There is a delay from when the brain is told a person is feeling thirsty, and by that point the body could already be down a liter of fluids,” Decker said. Trudie Pruitt, a chiropractor and nutritionist in Redding, champions powder packets with vitamins that can be added to water. “It has taken a lot of standing over patients to remind them to replenish their electrolytes throughout the day,” Pratt said.
  2. Know the signs of heatstroke and exhaustion. All the good intentions can’t outrun the sun. Heatstroke and exhaustion can take a person by surprise. Exhaustion causes sweating as the body tries to cool things down. Someone who is exhausted still has the faculties to tell someone, “Why is it so hot?” Hand that person a glass of water. Heatstroke is a lack of sweat as the skin becomes dry. Someone suffering a heatstroke will have a certain malaise. Those with heatstroke will be hot to the touch but will hot have the strength to help themselves. Pratt calls this the “dying but not caring” phase. That person needs to get to a medical doctor immediately. Deckert said people at particular risk, such as the elderly and the ill, should be checked on throughout the heat wave to make sure they are not experiencing any of these conditions.
  3. Take care of your pets. What about dry snouts and heavy panting and drooling? Well, that’s actually for dogs, but heat exhaustion can also creep up on pets as well. Veterinarian Kara Tenant with Care Animal Hospital of Redding said panting dogs that look dazed could be experiencing a heatstroke. “They’re just not aware of you or what’s going on around them,” she said. “They won’t be able to lie down and will seem restless. They’ll be uncoordinated, walking wobbly.” Leaving a fan on for a dog is a good way for it to cool off. Cats can get acclimated to the heat, but Tenant said if a panting cat shows up, it is cause for alarm because that cat is experiencing heatstroke. Walking a dog outdoors n the early ┬ámorning or late evening is the best way to keep a pet comfortable and keep its paws from burning on the hot ground. Humans, on the other hand, have gyms,
  4. Pace yourself with exercise (or anything outside). Working out in the sun is probably not the best idea. Deckert said if possible limit outdoor activities. Paige Person at Everyday Fitness and Training in Redding said exercising in an air-conditioned gym is ideal, but keeping hydrated is a balancing act of drinking water before, during, and after a work-out. “Making sure you’re hydrated and then having a cool-off period after (a workout) is important,” Pearson said. “Depending on what type of workout you’re doing, you can have a protein drink after to get back what you burned out during your routine.” No two people are the same, so proceed with caution when working out in a heat wave, Pearson said.
  5. Know your threshold. A neighbor might go for a walk every morning for a few hours and this might raise an eyebrow, but it could work for her. People have their thresholds. Others could be extremely sensitive to the heat and should avoid any strenuous exercise outdoors. “You might have half a day where you’re feeling great and then bam! It could just creep up on you and you’re feeling worse than you were a few minutes before,” said Pratt. Children and the elderly are at risk during a heat wave, but so are pregnant women, infants, and the obese, Deckert said. The effectiveness of medications for heart conditions and thyroid disease can also be affected by the heat, and anyone on medication for sleep aid, depression, anxiety, or mental illness can also have a bad reaction. The Redding, Anderson, and Cottonwood libraries are all open to the public and are air-conditioned to provide relief.