Surviving the Summer Heat
It’s starting to get hot outside and the threat of heat-related injuries are becoming a concern for a lot of us. Those of us on blood thinners are probably rejoicing the fact the cold weather is gone and the warm weather is upon us. While the warm weather is a nice change, it also brings threats we must navigate to stay healthy. I have a few tips that can hopefully help keep you safe during the warmest months of the year.
Drink water when in doubt
Our body's natural response to heating up is sweating. When we sweat, we lose water. That’s pretty obvious, but one thing to keep in mind is sweating can accelerate dehydration. This means we need to keep two important things in mind. The first is limiting salt intake. Most of us already do that, but it's especially important in the summer because salt can help speed up dehydration.
Also, with the water loss, you need to make sure you are drinking a fluid that will not dehydrate you more. Of course, water is the best choice, but there are also drinks like Pedialyte, which while marketed towards children, is generally ok for rehydration and replacing electrolytes in adults. Be careful of sports drinks that tout hydration but are loaded with sugar. When in doubt, drink water.
Forecasts and breaks
Another thing you want to do is stay inside during the hottest parts of the day. There are plenty of ways to look at the hourly temperature projections, so use them to plan your outside activities. This can be a little more difficult in areas of the country or world that stay hot. Try to use a ten-day forecast to look for cooler days or try to go out in the early morning or evenings when the direct sun is the least intense. Even though you may have chores you need to do outside, it's not worth your health or your life to get them done.
If you do have to be outside when it is overly hot, take lots of breaks. If you have a cell phone with an alarm clock or timer, set it to go off every 20-30 minutes and take a 15-minute break to hydrate and get out of the heat. Yes, it will take longer to get done what you need to, but you should keep yourself safe doing this. Again, your health and life are not worth yard work or outside activities. Is this frustrating? Of course, it is very frustrating, but I do it and I feel it helps keep me safe.
The last tip I have is to recruit help. I know some of us hate asking for help, but most people, especially if they care about you, are not going to see you negatively when asking for help. It also does not mean you can’t help them in some capacity. You can still be out there and do some of the less physical activities, and it also gives you someone to take a break with when you start to get hot or thirsty.
Hopefully, these tips help you get through the hottest parts of the summer, wherever you live. Make sure you stay safe and do not risk your health and safety for something as trivial as yard work or any other outside activity.
Do you use exercise to help manage your heart failure?