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Tuesday August 4th 2020

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Keeping Cool in the Heat of It

Phillips Neighborhood Clinic 

By Harry Leeds

There’s this joke about Minnesota: “We have a really incredible summer! You should come see it.  It’s on a Thursday.”  Yes, Minnesota is blessed with sunny skies, relatively low humidity, cool breezes, and some of the best parks in the country, all at our disposal to enjoy in July and August. 

Joking aside, it can get hot outside. While many of us used to spend our summer days in air-conditioned offices or cafes, now we find ourselves at home.  It is heatstroke  when your body is exposed to high temperatures and exhaustive physical exertion

So, it is important for the more vulnerable (or in my case, irritable) of us to stay cool during the summer.   It is important that you do not stress yourself, physically and emotionally.  Carrying a couch up the stairs of an apartment building in 90 degree heat may seem like a good idea at the time, but you can hurt yourself. High temperatures can make you cranky, confused, and dangerously dehydrated.  So you’ll want to make sure you are drinking enough water.

If you can stay safely inside an air-conditioned space, you should do that on the hottest of days. Go outside early in the morning before the sun is directly overhead and the streets have had time to suck up so much of its heat. You can also use blinds efficiently. Close the east-facing blinds in the morning and open west blinds; then, reverse it in the evening.  If it is safe, open your windows at night to let in the cool air, then close them before it heats up in the morning.

A person might be experiencing heatstroke if they have flushed skin, strange alterations in sweating, throbbing headache, nausea, vomiting, or confusion and possibly a high heart rate. Medications or alcohol can make it worse.   If this happens to you, get in the shade and cool down anyway you can like with cooling water.  Most importantly, call for medical help. Remember, if you call for the ambulance, you don’t have to go to the hospital after the EMTs assess you. 

Stay cool out there.

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