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Staying Cool in the Heat

Staying cool and hydrated during the hot summer months is very important when temperatures reach record highs. Dangerously high temperatures can result in heat-related illnesses such as fainting, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Heat-related illnesses are most dangerous to young children and the elderly, but can also affect anyone whose active outdoors. Prevention is the key to staying healthy and keeping cool.


Stay familiar with the climate in your area.


For example, summers in Little Rock and Fayetteville, Arkansas are hot and very humid. Humidity affects how our bodies cool us down. The human body cools down through the evaporation of sweat on our skin. The more humidity (water vapor) in the air, the harder it is for sweat to evaporate, leaving us to feel hotter and stickier.


The state of Texas is located at the intersection of several climate zones and experiences very hot and humid days. Summer temperatures in Ft. Worth, Arlington, Corsicana/Navarro, Tyler and Dallas average the upper 90s°F. Houston, San Antonio, Austin, Corpus Christi and Denton temperatures average in the mid 90s°F, and Lubbock, located further north has more mild climate with summer temperatures averaging 90°F. The mountainous area of west Texas experiences a dry, humid-free climate with summer temperatures averaging around 80°F.


In areas such as Albuquerque, New Mexico, residents experience temperatures between 80°F to 90°F in the early summer months due to low humidity. However, during the late summer months, humidity increases but the overall temperature drops. In Santa Fe, the highs peak around 70°F.


Flagstaff, Arizona is located at an elevation of around 7,000 feet, making for cooler summer temperatures averaging only 81°F in July. Phoenix on the other hand is one of the hottest places in the United States with highs topping off around 110°F during the summer. On June 26, 1990, the temperature reached an all-time recorded high of 122°F. Tucson summer temperatures reach 100°F.


Tips to beat the heat:


  • Drink plenty of water


  • Exercise outdoors when the weather is cooler, such as during early morning hours


  • Dress for the heat, wearing loose fitting, light clothing


  • Stay in the shade


  • Take a cool shower or get in a refreshing swimming pool


  • Keep the air flowing


  • Close blinds in your home to avoid direct sunlight


  • Eat light meals, such as cold fruit, yogurt, or salads instead of hot, cooked meals


  • Do not over exert yourself in the heat


  • Wear sunscreen at all times when outdoors


  • Use common sense


Additional sources:

www.medicinenet.com

www.wikipedia.org

www.weather.com

http://www.achooallergy.com/effects-of-humidity.asp

http://www.wrh.noaa.gov