Tips for dealing with high humidity

Cool drink of water in the summer heat (Photo WDTN/Kris Sproles)
Cool drink of water in the summer heat (Photo WDTN/Kris Sproles)

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Because the temperature is in the high 80s to low 90s, and the humidity is high, the heat index (what the temperature actually feels like) will be in the mid to high 90’s this week. Since we are in the early part of summer, many people are not used to normal high summer temperatures. It is because of this fact that early high summer temperatures are more dangerous than when they occur later in the summer.

Heat-related illnesses occur when a person’s body cannot properly cool itself. As the body’s temperature continues to rise, the body begins to suffer. Other factors such as age, obesity, dehydration, and drug or alcohol use can make it harder for the body to stay cool in hot weather. Public Health – Dayton & Montgomery County wants to caution everyone to be aware of the hazards of summer temperatures when mixed with high
humidity.

Heat-related illnesses are preventable, but each year there are many hospitalizations and fatalities related to the extreme heat. The best defense is prevention.

Here are some prevention tips:

  • Drink more fluids (nonalcoholic), regardless of your activity level. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. Warning: If your doctor generally limits the amount of fluid you drink or has you on water pills, ask how much you should drink when the weather is hot.
  • Don’t drink liquids that contain alcohol or large amounts of sugar – these actually cause you to lose more body fluids. Also, avoid very cold drinks, because they can cause stomach cramps.
  • Stay indoors and, if at all possible, stay in an air-conditioned place. If your home does not have air conditioning, go to the shopping mall or public library – even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat. Call your local political jurisdiction (your village, city, township, etc.) to see if there are any heat-relief shelters in your area.
  • Electric fans may provide comfort, but when the temperature is in the high 90’s fans will not prevent heat-related illness. Taking a cool shower or bath, or moving to an air-conditioned place is a much better way to cool off.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
  • Never leave any person or pet in a closed, parked vehicle.

Although anyone at any time can suffer from heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others. Check regularly on:

  • Infants and young children
  • People aged 65 or older
  • People who have a mental illness
  • Those who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure

Visit adults at risk at least twice a day and closely watch them for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Infants and young children, of course, need much more frequent watching.

Montgomery County Health Commissioner Jim Gross explains, “Heat-related illnesses are preventable through the use of some common sense strategies such as paying attention to local news and weather channels.” “Follow their advice,” he states.

If you must be out in the heat:

  • Limit your outdoor activity to morning and evening hours, when possible.
  • Cut down on exercise. If you must exercise, drink two to four glasses of cool, nonalcoholic fluids each hour. A sports beverage can replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat. Warning: If you are on a low-salt diet, talk with your doctor before drinking a sports beverage.
  • Try to rest often in shady areas.

Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat (also keeps youcooler) and sunglasses, and by putting on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher. The most effective products say “broad spectrum” or “UVA/UVB protection.”

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