Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Summer heat tips

| August 4, 2022 1:00 AM

Especially after that prolonged winter weather, the sunshine has been great. Flowers and green lawns, outdoor play, vitamin D — good stuff.

But enough already: Coeur d’Alene just wasn’t supposed to get to a dry 100 in July. With broken heat records becoming the new norm, we’d best get used to it. While August has ratcheted the heat down a few notches, we know it’ll get back to the high 90s soon enough.

Even with temperatures in the 80s, it pays to respect mother nature’s power and be mindful of the dangers of being in the sun too long. Sun-lovers, your body needs cover and extra hydration whether you’re feeling it or not.

Sorry; beer doesn’t count.

According to Mayo Clinic and the National Institutes of Health, heatstroke (a.k.a. sun stroke) and its predecessor, heat exhaustion, can result from prolonged exposure to hot temperatures — with or without physical activity. If left untreated heatstroke can damage the brain, heart, kidneys, and muscles.

The dehydration which causes these can occur below 90. Once the body loses only 5% hydration, dizziness, headaches, and fatigue can set in; below that and confusion and other symptoms may start.

So until summer gives way to those beautiful, comfortably cool fall days, here are some tips from state and federal health sites:

• Drink water. Then drink more. When outdoors in the summer, even on cloudy days, you need more than the daily recommended eight glasses.

• Avoid alcohol and other dehydrating drinks. Caffeine itself is not dehydrating, but keep in mind it does tend to cause more trips to the bathroom, so that water will need replacing.

• Hats and sunscreen are your best friends.

• Stay in the a/c or take breaks indoors.

• Limit or avoid being outside in the middle of the day when the sun is hottest.

• Wear loose, light-colored clothing. Covering helps avoid sunburns and over time, skin cancer.

• Schedule outdoor runs, workouts and sport events early or late in the day when temperatures are cooler.

• Take a shower or dip in the lake to cool off regularly.

• Children, the sick, and the elderly (and people who work outside) are even more vulnerable to heat-related illness and need adequate clothing, hydration, sunscreen and shade.

• Never leave pets or kids in cars; they’re like ovens.

• Speaking of ovens, avoid using it on hot days as it warms up the house.

• And don’t forget; we’re in drought conditions during wildfire season so please don’t burn without a permit, and make sure allowed campfires and cigarettes (which have started many a fire) are fully out before you walk away.

Enjoy North Idaho’s gorgeous summer and natural playgrounds, safely.

“In every person there is a sun. Just let them shine.” — Socrates

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Sholeh Patrick is a columnist for the Hagadone News Network. Email

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