Florida Heatwave is Upon Us

Summer officially starts on June 21st, however, the high temperatures we've reached in Panama City tell us summer is already here. Temperatures are reaching the upper 90's with the heat index of 100+. You need to take precautions to make sure you and your family stay cool to avoid heat stroke or other heat related illnesses.

About 400 people die annually from heat stroke. Heat stroke is not necessarily caused by over-exertion, although if not properly hydrated, you can become ill. Heat stroke is caused when your body is unable to regulate its temperature. This could easily occur while sitting in your non-airconditioned living room. Heat-related illnesses can affect people differently. Certain medical conditions as well as medications can contribute to a higher risk of illness. Those with chronic health conditions, such as cardiovasular diseases, diabetes, as well as the elderly, may find their tolerance to heat is much lower.

To avoid heat stroke, take precaution to keep your body temperature regulated. Your body will cool itself, however in extreme heat such as what we are currently experiencing, it may need a little help.

  • Avoid going outdoors at the hottest time of the day, if possible. If you have yard work or other chores, plan to do them first thing in the morning or after 4pm when the sun is not directly on you.
  • Drink plenty of water and avoid carbonated beverages and alcohol. Gatorades or other mineral replenishing beverages are good.
  • Increase your intake of foods rich in potassium, which is said to reduce your risk of strokes and help to reduce your blood pressure.

Signs of heat stroke include dizziness or fainting, heavy sweating, muscle cramps, cold or clammy skin, headaches, rapid heartbeat and nausea. If you experience these symptoms, you should immediately take steps to reduce you body temperature. Drink cool fluids and a cool, not cold, shower will help reduce your body temperature without the shock of cold water. A cool rag on your head and neck will also help. If these methods do not help, seek medical treatment immediately.

Also, if you have elderly family members or neighbors, be sure to check on them throughout the summer season since they are a high risk to heat-related illnesses. Stay cool and enjoy the summer.

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