As we are getting hit by this week's heatwave, we should be especially concerned about keeping cool and safe. You may have heard about 32 year old NFL defensive lineman Mitch Petrus who died today of heatstroke? While triple-digit temps are uncomfortable we are particularly susceptible to heat exhaustion. It can lead to death. One doctor told The New York Times, that our bodies heat up quick in this weather. Here are five easy ways to keep safe when the temps are soaring.
Walkerton Splashpad Photo by Anita Shipley
Make sure to take breaks
Your heatwave plans probably include hitting up the local pool or sprinkler park, but even though there’s water to cool things down, watch for signs of overheating. Kids are unlikely to tell you when they’re heating up too quickly, so, also, it’s up to you to enforce those indoor or in the shade breaks for them.
Make sure you and your kids are drinking plenty of water in a heatwave, and also bring along a spray bottle to mist down from time to time. You and your child need water to replace the fluids lost from sweating, according to a study published in the American College of Sports Medicine’s Health and Fitness Journal . Don’t risk dehydration— keep those reusable bottles filled (and add ice to keep drinks cooler, longer).
Walkerton Splashpad photo by Anita Shipley
Dress to protect
While it’s normal to let them run around in a bathing suit or shorts and tank top, it’s important to protect them from the sun’s harmful rays board-certified dermatologist Elizabeth S. Martin, MD, FAAD told the American Academy of Dermatology. Dress in lightweight, breathable clothing. It will help prevent sunburn. Consider rash guards and slather on a broad-spectrum SPF — remember to reapply every time you come out of the water.
Limit outdoor play
Of course your kids to want to be outside, especially running through the sprinkler, limit that time to 30 minutes according to Seattle Children’s Hospital, and find indoor activities like going to the mall or the movies on these super hot days. If you don’t have air-conditioning at home, hit up cooling centers or places like the local library. 208 million people in 34 states are expecting the extreme temeratures.
Walkerton Splashpad Photo by Claudia Brenner
Watch for signs of heat stroke
If your skin gets hot and dry and you become dizzy, sleepy or confused, move to a cooler place and apply cool wet cloths to the skin. When the core temperature spikes it can cause serious damage to the body’s organs so don’t be afraid to call for help if you need it. But don’t feel that you must keep inside all day, simply observe some common sense guidelines to keep safe.
Don't forget to be aware of your pets and livestock during the heat. Photo by April Kristine
With a little precaution (and plenty of ice pops!) you and your kiddos will get through the heatwave and even have some sweaty summerfun while you’re at it!