The Special Olympics will open on July 25 in Los Angeles, and I will be a part of the medical team on hand to treat the athletes participating. Los Angeles in July is hot and most of the events are outdoors. This leads me to believe that many of you will be spending time in the heat of your own cities, and can use some advice on self-care in hot summer weather.
Begin your day with the best possible hygiene habits. Keep every part of your body clean and hydrated. Take special care to clean the sweaty parts of your body (joint bends, underarms, face…) Use products that contain no fragrances and pore-clogging ingredients. Consider purchasing cleansing towelettes for your purse or laptop bag to refresh yourself during the day. Baby wipes for sensitive skin are a good option too.
Use a body lotion and facial moisturizer containing sunscreen. It is recommended that if you will be in the sun more than 20 minutes, then the use of sunscreen daily is important. Buy one with SPF 15 or higher.
Drink plenty of water. Drinking water is great for internal and external hydration during the summer, when the heat can deplete your energy and dry out your skin. Dehydration is a major reason why people have to visit hospital ERs in the summer. Infuse it with fruit to make it taste better. Make sure your elderly loved ones and little ones are hydrated too. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink water; incorporate it into your daily routine.
Own an air-conditioner, use it. Heat stress can exacerbate existing health conditions in the elderly and others, and air-conditioning is the best preventative measure during extreme hot weather. There are units available as low as $79 now and they can cool small spaces. If you cannot afford one, it is understandable, so I suggest you locate public health sponsored heat-relief shelters in your area that are air-conditioned. Leave home early and sit in the library, a coffee shop or a shopping mall. Also, do the research to see if any agency in your area is giving away air-conditioners to the elderly and infirmed.
Dress for prevention. Dark clothing absorbs heat, so choose clothing that is light in color as well as loose in style to keep sweat from resting against your body and breeding bacteria. Purchase a sun hat to protect your face and eyes. Avoid clothing options that weigh you down and increase heat stress.
Eat foods containing water. A meal containing starchy, fatty foods are bad for your health during extreme heat days. Refusing to eat because of the heat is just as bad. Keep foods containing water nearby: melons, cherries, grapes, lettuce, celery, etc. You’ve got to eat to live so choose foods that are not going to harm you and that give you nutrition. Read this list on Weather(dot)com.
Exercise in air-conditioning or during the coolest times of days. You might have to adjust your normal exercise routine in extreme heat but it will keep you alive and healthy. Plan your activities based on temperature and time of day. Be wise.
If you have your own tips, please let me know in the comment section below. In the meantime, take care of your body and health this summer.