As Hoosiers know, it's not just the heat, it's the humidity

Sunday, June 22, 2014

After enduring through a winter of more than 30 inches of snow, many are happy to see the arrival of summer. Never the less, this winter has shown us that the weather is unpredictable. As means of being prepared for the summer, this article will discuss aspects of extreme heat.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention defines conditions of extreme heat as "summertime temperatures that are substantially hotter and/or more humid than average for location at that time of year."

Humid or muggy conditions, which add to the discomfort of high temperatures, occur when a "dome" of high atmospheric pressure traps hazy, damp air near the ground. People suffer heat-related illness when their bodies are unable to compensate and properly cool themselves.

The body normally cools itself by sweating. But under some conditions, sweating just isn't enough. In such cases, a person's body temperature rises rapidly. Very high body temperatures may damage the brain or other vital organs. Heat-related death is preventable, however 8,015 people in the United States have died due to excessive heat exposure. In efforts of keeping you and your family safe from heat excessive exposure the following tips are recommended.

Drink Plenty of Fluids

During hot weather you will need to increase your fluid intake, regardless of your activity level. Don't wait until you're thirsty to drink. During heavy exercise in a hot environment, drink two to four glasses (16-32 ounces) of cool fluids each hour. If your doctor limits your fluid intake, or has you on water pills, ask how much you should take in summer months.

Wear Appropriate Clothing and Sunscreen

Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. If you must go outdoors, protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat (also keeps you cooler) along with sunglasses, and by putting on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher (the most effective products say "broad spectrum" or "UVA/UVB protection" on their labels) 30 minutes prior to going out.

Replace Salt and Minerals

Heavy sweating removes salt and minerals from the body. These are necessary for your body and must be replaced. Sports drinks are also acceptable drinks in replacing salt and minerals. However if you are on a low salt diet, consult with your doctor prior to drinking sports drinks.

Adjust to the Environment

Remain cautious of any change in the temperature like an early summer heat wave. This type of weather is stressful to your body. By limiting your physical activity until you become accustomed to the heat, you in turn create a greater tolerance for heat. For instance, if you are traveling somewhere with a hotter climate, give yourself a couple of days to become acclimated before attempting any vigorous exercise.

Excerpts and information from this article were taken from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2009).

Check our website www.extension.purdue.edu/putnam to view the most up to date info. You can contact the local Purdue Extension Office by calling 653-8411 for more information regarding column topics or to RSVP for upcoming events. It is always best to call first to assure items are ready when you arrive and to RSVP for programs. While many publications are free, some do have a fee.

Upcoming Events

June 24 -- Consumer Clothing 4-H workshop, Extension Office, 1 p.m.

June 25 -- Basketry 4-H Project workshop, Fairgrounds, 1 p.m.

June 25 -- Wood Science 4-H Project workshop, Steve Lien shop, 6 p.m.

June 26 -- Electric 4-H Project workshop, Extension Office, 6 p.m.

June 26 -- Exploring 4-H Project session, Fairgrounds, 6:30 p.m.

June 26- Cooking Matters, grocery store tour, 11 a.m.

June 28 -- Master Gardener garden tour. Tickets available at Extension office, 10 a.m.

June 30 -- Public speaking demonstration contest, Fairgrounds, 6 p.m.

June 30 -- Summer Judging 4-H contest, Fairgrounds, 7 p.m.

July 1 -- Consumer Clothing 4-H workshop, Extension Office, 1 p.m.

July 1 -- Youth PQA program, Fairgrounds, 5:30 p.m.

July 1 -- Putnam 4-H Junior Leaders, Fairgrounds, 7 p.m.

July 1 -- Livestock 4-H record sheets due for leader Signature.

July 6 -- Fair Kickoff Ice Cream Social and free Levi Riggs concert.

July 7 -- Cake Decorating 4-H Project workshop, Fairgrounds, 6 p.m.

July 10 -- Exploring 4-H Field Day, Fairgrounds, 1 p.m.

July 10 -- Cake Decorating 4-H Project workshop, 6 p.m.