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How to Beat the Heat

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July 09, 2014



Take 5: How to beat the heat

Hydrate before you get thirsty

On really hot days, you should begin drinking water before you get thirsty. If you’re idle, drink eight to 10 ounces of water every hour; if you’re exer­cising out­side, drink an addi­tional two to four cups of water per hour. Remember to stay away from caf­feine, alcohol, and sugary bev­er­ages, all of which can lead to fluid loss and/or dehydration.

Eat fruit and forego big meals

Con­tribute to your fluid intake by eating fruits with high water con­tent like water­melon and can­taloupe and forego large, infre­quent meals in favor of smaller, more fre­quent ones. These will keep your energy level stable throughout the day.

Exer­cise in the morning or after sundown

Workout in the morning or at night, but avoid exer­cising during the hottest part of the day, which will arrive between 2–4 p.m. Be sure to take fre­quent breaks and increase your water con­sump­tion in tem­per­a­tures exceeding 90 degrees.

Cool off in the shower

Take a refreshing shower, but make sure the water isn’t too cold. Taking a cold shower after spending a day in the heat could result in hypothermia, espe­cially in the young and elderly. Other tips and tricks for remaining com­fort­able in the heat include putting a cool cloth on your head and wearing light-colored clothing. Fans help, too, but they do not pre­vent heat stroke in tem­per­a­tures above 90 degrees.

Be resourceful

Each spring, I lead a large group of Bouvé stu­dents to the Dom­incan Republic, a warm cli­mate where they pro­vide health­care ser­vices to thou­sands of res­i­dents living in rural com­mu­ni­ties. Before embarking on the two-week trip, I pro­vide the stu­dents with extreme heat safety tips, many of which can be found on the web­sites of the Amer­ican Red Cross and The Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion. Both offer even more tips for staying cool—and safe—in the oppres­sive heat.