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6 tips to keep you hydrated and cool in the heat

Fresno is hot — very hot.

The daytime temperature hit triple digits every day except one between July 11 and August 3. Temperatures topped 110 degrees on July 17, according to the National Weather Service. August 1st cooled slightly to a high of 98.

When it’s hot in Fresno, people try to cool off by going to a pool, going to a water park, heading to the lake or the Central Coast for a cool ocean breeze. Those who cannot go far seek relief in air-conditioned movie theaters, malls or other public places. The City of Fresno has cooling centers open for those without air conditioning.

But what happens when you can’t escape the heat?

According to California Department of Public Health.

But the biggest threat to a person’s health can be heatstroke, which could lead to death, said Dr. Scott Saylor, professor of kinesiology in the College of Health and Human Services at Fresno State. He has several years of experience working with football athletes during the summer months.

Heatstroke can cause damage to the kidneys, liver and other organs. If a person experiences such symptoms, call 911 or cool them in a bath or shower with cold water, Sailor said.

If people are working or participating in outdoor activities in the heat, they should take a break every 10-15 minutes, depending on the intensity of the activity, to get out of the sun and drink water to stay hydrated. If you’re exhausted, find somewhere with shade to cool off, Sailor said.

To stay safe during the summer heat, Sailor has six tips to keep hydrated and cool from the heat.

  1. Drink plenty of fluids. Sailor recommends drinking eight cups of cool water or sports drinks a day. If you don’t like any of these, then drink something water-based, like iced green tea or fruit juice. Avoid caffeine, alcohol or hot drinks as well as sugary liquids.
  2. Eat foods with a high water content. Eating is a great way to stay hydrated with foods that contain water like fruits and vegetables. “It’s making sure you’re eating food that also helps hydrate you. It’s not just drinking water or drinking electrolytes,” Sailor said. One might consider weighing to see if there is noticeable weight loss over a series of hot days. “For example, if you weighed yourself one day and the next day you come in and you’re 3-4 pounds lighter, it’s probably telling you that you need to consume close to 3-4 pounds of fluid of some kind to maintain your hydration level,” he said.
  3. Wear light clothing. Wearing light-colored clothing or short-sleeved shirts helps to cool you down from the heat. Heavy, dark clothing can cause one to absorb light, which makes one warmer. Those who work outside may want to wear long sleeves and pants made of cotton or breathable fabric. Fabrics like this allow the sweat that builds up to evaporate and cool us down, Sailor said.
  4. Go out in the morning or evening. The best time to go outside is in the morning or evening because it is cooler. If you plan to participate in outdoor activities or work outside, adjust to the heat daily, Sailor said. “Over a period of a week or two, we have to spend more and more time outside in the heat,” Sailor said. “Once we do that, then our bodies will be ready for the heat.” But people need to regulate themselves and take a break if it’s too hot.
  5. Go somewhere that has air conditioning. Being inside can help people cool off from the air-conditioned heat. Those without air conditioning can go to a cooling center. The City of Fresno, City of Clovis and other municipalities have multiple locations. When you get into a warm car, open the windows for a few minutes first. Turn on the air conditioner with the windows open so the hot air can escape. Close the windows after the warm air has gone out. Sailor recommends parking in the shade and putting a shield over the front window so the car doesn’t get too hot.
  6. Have a friend. Have a buddy system to look after each other when you are active in the heat. Sailor said the buddy system is great for those who work outside or participate in outdoor activities. Check each other out. If you notice any signs of heat problems, such as dizziness, staggering, or confusion, get out of the heat and call 911.

(Written by Ramon Castaños, Boarding Student of University Communication)

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