Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The heat is on

     Who would have thought that Florida would be the place to go to escape the heat? It seems as though a large portion of the US is in the grips of a heatwave that makes a day in the sunshine state seem like a good idea about now. What are us natives that claim superiority in the coping with heat stress supposed to think? Well in the first place we sympathise with you and understand the suffering. You need to hydrate any way you can and the news is reporting water shortages. If there is no way your work or active life provides a way out of the sun here are a couple tips.
         Give up the bottled water addiction. This is no time to be a bottled water snob. If that is all you can find then go for it but any clean drinking water source is perfectly acceptable for your needs. If it makes you feel better fill that brand name bottle that was originally filled at a tap elsewhere from your own. This will allow you to maintain the artificial appearance of taste and class regardless of availability.
         Public fountains maintained for their aesthetic appeal and improvement of public spaces are great places to wet that towel you are carrying to dry the sweat. They are usually clean and chlorinated like a swimming pool and adding the moisture to your skin will help cool you down.
         Stick to the shade. That sunny path that is perfect in April can scorch your brain now so find an alternate if you can. Heat related illness is very real and can sneak up on you quickly. You want to avoid the alcohol since it will add to the dehydration factor so maybe a tall glass of water instead of a beer to wash down lunch might be in order. Similarly caffeinated beverages add to the body losing water so marinating in coffee or tea before heading out could be a bad idea.
          Sports drinks claim to be scientifically formulated to help replace the electrolytes lost to perspiration. I cannot refute this claim with any evidence to the contrary but I can tell you that 30 years framing houses in the Florida sun has taught me that the added sugar can make you sick. Plain water always worked best for me and eating the foods rich in the electrolytes you are seeking to replace will do the job. Soda was never a viable option unless I wanted to be puking off the edge of the slab. Bottom line is try to stay wet inside and out and you'll feel better and avoid heat stress/stroke but if you just start to feel 'wrong' get out of the heat and rest.