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Heat adds to health concerns
Health advice
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I’ve “glowed’ and “glistened” far more than I’ve wished this summer. When it’s so hot that your body is covered in perspiration and your clothes get damp after being outside only a few minutes, you know it’s time to take extra precautions against heat related illnesses.
Our bodies normally regulate temperature by sweating. But some things can interfere with this process. High humidity, age, obesity, fever, dehydration, disease and drug and alcohol use all limit our ability to sweat.
To protect your health when temperatures are high:
1. Drink fluids: During exercise in heat, drink 16-32 ounces of cool fluids per hour.
2. Wear appropriate clothing and sunscreen: Choose lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing, wear a hat and use sunscreen.
3. Go slow: You have a greater tolerance if you become accustomed to the heat slowly, become acclimated before exercise and work up to it gradually.
4. Use common sense: Limit sun exposure during the mid-day hours and exercise during the day.
5. Eat smart: Food poisoning from unsafe picnic practices is much more prevalent during summer months. While improper cooking may play a role in food-borne illness, careless food handling in this weather can be costly. And this warm weather provides a perfect environment for bacteria and other pathogens in food to multiply rapidly.
Important safety tips to remember when picnicking:
• Keep everything clean: Find out if there’s safe drinking water at your detination. If not, bring water and soap for preparation and cleaning; or pack moist towelettes for cleaning hands and surfaces.
Keep food at correct temperature: It is very important to keep hot food hot and cold food cold on the way to, and throughout the meal. Holding food at an unsafe temperature is a prime cause of foodborne illness. Food should not be left out of the cooler or off the grill more than two hours.

Ratcliffe is an information specialist with the Coastal Health District. You can call her at 876-2173, ext. 236
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