YOU ARE HERE: IVPress HomeCollections

Our Opinion: Surviving summer

July 05, 2001

In case you haven't noticed, summer has arrived. There is no more time to think about it, to contemplate heat so thick it makes it difficult to move.

Sure, we have seven outstanding months of the year for which we should be thankful. Still, those cool months seem a distant memory right when temperatures are topping 115 degrees.

Yes, the heat has arrived and we have to do deal with it, but we can't just simply sit back and feel sorry for ourselves. We must protect ourselves, because the heat we experience can be deadly if we do not take the proper precautions.

Dehydration is serious concern, as are other illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke that can overcome us in the summer. To be safe, especially for those who must work outside or who are going to be outdoors for extended periods, you must prehydrate yourselves. That means drinking plenty of water to prepare the body for being outdoors in the heat. When outdoors you must continue to drink water or even electrolyte drinks that replenish the body's fluids.


Do not, and this is crucial, drink alcohol or even drinks with caffeine such as soda and iced tea because they will rob your body of fluids and cause you to dehydrate faster.

Before going outdoors make sure you put on sunscreen. That doesn't mean putting on a low-level sunscreen to get a tan; it means using sunscreen that will truly protect your skin. Get yourself a good hat for outdoors and wear light clothing.

There are some other obvious precautions to take. Exercise early in the morning or when the sun goes down as temperatures drop. Sure, it may still be 90 degrees after dark, but that is quite a bit better than 115 degrees.

Also think about your animals. If they are going to be outside, make sure they have plenty of shade and water. A baby pool means both an extra source of water and a place for a cooling dip.

Do not take these suggestions lightly. They can mean the difference between life and death. If you have more questions about heat safety, contact your local fire department, the county Public Health Department or your physician. You also should make yourself aware of what to do if you are with someone suffering from exposure to heat.

With the summer here we must learn to be responsible and parents should take the time to educate their children. Sure, kids are resilient, but they are not unbreakable. They do not always pay attention to what is safe behavior. That is where parents play a key role.

Also, kids may be tempted to cool themselves in canals, and that can be deadly. Make sure they know about the public swimming pool in your community.

Imperial Valley Press Online Articles