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Sunday, July 25, 2010

How to Beat the Heat!

As the temperature rises and the risk for heat stroke increases, people should be aware of how their bodies are handling the heat. Many of us vendors of handmade items depend on the money we make at Farmer’s Markets and craft shows throughout the summer months. Minimizing the stress of heat on your body by staying hydrated will help keep you healthy throughout the summer.

Heat-related injuries can range from a relatively minor problem like heat cramps to a more serious condition like heat stroke, which can be fatal, so we need to pay close attention to ourselves as well as our neighbors.

Tips to stave off the sizzling summer temps!

Slow down! Strenuous activities should be reduced or eliminated, or rescheduled to a cool time of day. Try going early and giving yourself extra time to set up. Take your time and if you possibly can, leave before the extreme heat of the day. I have found here locally that most of my customers come early during the hottest days of summer, especially at the markets with little or no shade. I have found no major decrease in my earnings if I leave at 1 p.m. instead of 3 p.m. I have even handed out notes that I put with my customers purchases that explain that during times of extreme heat & humidity that my hours will be different that normal. I also have handed out coupons with 10 to 15 % off to ease the inconvenience as well as giving my home phone number and telling them to call me and we can arrange a pickup at their convenience.
Drink plenty of water and other non-alcoholic fluids. Your body needs water to keep you cool and functioning. Drink plenty of fluids even if you are not thirsty. Caffeine drinks should be minimized. Water and sports drinks are better for you.

Don’t take salt tablets unless prescribed by a physician.
Dress for summer! Wear loose fitting, lightweight clothing in single layers. Light colored clothing helps reflect the heat and sunlight and helps you maintain normal body temperature.
Stay out of the sun! If you don’t have a tent to cover you and your products bring an umbrella. Always wear a sunblock (SPF 15 or greater) even on cloudy or hazy days.
Please keep an eye on your neighbors. Older people and children are more susceptible to heat injury and often do not recognize it in themselves.
Get a small "Playmate" type cooler, and fill it with ice and water. Take a small towel (an older, thin dish towel is great) and soak it in the icy water in the bottom of the cooler. When you need to cool off, take out the towel, wring it out a little, and drape it either over your head or across your neck and shoulders. If you have a large enough towel and it is especially hot you can fold it over and wrap up some ice, letting is slowly melt and cool you off. At the extreme heat and humidity that many parts of the country are experiencing it is more important to keep cooler than being “well dressed”. Heat stroke or heat exhaustion can be deadly.

Recognize the signs of dehydration, heat stroke or heat exhaustion. Thirst, dry skin, fatigue, lightheadedness, confusion and dry mouth and mucous membranes are symptoms of dehydration. In cases of mild dehydration, simple rehydration is recommended by drinking fluids. Many sports drinks on the market effectively restore body fluids, electrolytes, and salt balance. More serious cases of dehydration should be treated as a medical emergency and a trip to the hospital will be necessary.

Heat stroke is the most severe form of heat illness and is a life- threatening emergency. Warning signs of heat stroke vary but may include the following: an extremely high body temperature; red, hot and dry skin(no sweating; rapid strong pulse; headache; dizziness; nausea; confusion; unconsciousness.
What should I do if I see someone with any of the warning signs of heat stroke?

If you see any of these signs, you may be dealing with a life-threatening emergency. Have someone call for immediate medical assistance while you begin cooling the victim. Do the following:
• Get the victim to a shady area.
• Cool the victim rapidly, using whatever methods you can. For example, immerse the victim in a tub of cool water; place the person in a cool shower; spray the victim with cool water from a garden hose; sponge the person with cool water; or if the humidity is low, wrap the victim in a cool, wet sheet and fan him or her vigorously.
• Monitor body temperature and continue cooling efforts until the body temperature drops to 101-102°F.
• If emergency medical personnel are delayed, call the hospital emergency room for further instructions.
• Do not give the victim alcohol to drink.
• Get medical assistance as soon as possible.

1 comment:

Jaime Haney aka ArtsyFartsy.Me said...

BJ, these are all great tips. I hope you're doing well at the markets in this heat we've been having here in So. Indiana. I've decided to not sell in such extreme heat, but I understand that many people count on them for their livelihood and I feel for those vendors. Hang in there, relief is coming!