Summer 2019

Summer, roughly the 100 days from Memorial Day at the end of May until Labor Day in early September, is a delightful, long, sun-filled time of year. Carefree days of summer are hoped for but all too often things can come between you and the expected good time.

Too Much Cold?

Adjusting to the heat is doable. Then you can tolerate the heat more easily and continue to enjoy it without adverse effects. Exposure is needed, and hours and days of exposure to hot temperatures (but not direct sunlight) will allow your body to increase its ability to manage heat by increasing its rate of heat loss, and quicker and more voluminous sweating. 

In our modern society that means avoiding Air Conditioning, or at least turning the thermostat up. If you work in an office 40 hours a week, I can imagine the pushback that would prevent you from turning the temperature up to 78 or 80 degrees. Probably not doable. Avoid the AC whenever you can, like when you are in your car driving or at home. It may take six weeks of training, but your tolerance will greatly improve.

Caution is needed, particularly for those with the potential for heart failure, those on medications that reduce a person’s ability to sweat (antihistamines), and medications that change your ability to know that you are heating up (anti-depressants). 

 

Sun Avoidance

Some medications can cause unusual skin reactions from the sun (retinoids and some antibiotics). One strategy is to avoid the sun’s rays from striking your body. Part of that strategy may include the use of Sunscreen. I like to use long pants and long-sleeve shirts and top it off with a broad-brimmed hat (one that covers your nose and ears). Gloves, a bandana and sunglasses complete the “look.”

 

Hydration

Also, remember to stay hydrated. Tip: If you are thirsty then you are behind on your fluids. Even a small degree of dehydration impairs performance of mind and muscle. Drink sufficient liquids so that you are urinating about once an hour! Ordinarily, what you drink is of secondary importance to the volume and frequency.

 

Water

You must know how to swim. No excuses. It is a requirement for graduation from some Universities and the Navy. Once you know how to swim, don’t screw it up by being under the influence of drugs or alcohol while in the water. Obvious, but so many people needlessly drown while impaired.

 

Insects

Insects annoying you? Use insect repellent, plenty of it and apply it often. DEET in various concentrations is a good repellent. Barrier-type clothing and a hat with a veil work as expected to mechanically keep the bugs away. If you do get bitten, try and resist scratching the bite. Apply some OTC (over the counter, non-prescription) steroid cream as often as needed.  Scratching can lead to an infected bite that turns into a cellulitis (skin infection), a boil, or, rarely, worse.

 

Some Life Pro Tips

1.    Beware of driving for too many hours at a stretch on your classic road trip.

2.    Don’t use motorcycles. They are just too deadly.

3.    Mow early in the day to avoid sparks starting a fire

4.    Be ladder safe.

5.    Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. What did you think was going to happen?

 

And as always, Stay Emergency Free!

 

Winter Blog 2018

It comes every year so don’t be too surprised.

Rain, sleet, snow, ice, and darkness.

All familiar and all with a challenge.

Hypothermia, the condition of low body temperature, is the main peril of rain, sleet and snow.

If you get too cold, all the systems in your body do not work well. It rather quickly leads to weakness, loss of coordination and inability to think clearly. If you are alone, it can be difficult to self-rescue. Prevention is the key: Dress for the weather you fear. Generally, a wind and waterproof outer layer, then sufficient insulating inner layers to stay warm. You want to stay dry because you lose heat very rapidly from a wet body. A balaclava, face covering or equivalent is suggested when it starts to get quite cold. Obviously, adequate gloves or mittens, and shoes or boots are needed.

A diet higher in protein will aid in keeping the metabolic furnace output high and keep you warmer. Alcohol in any form increases heat loss; it will not keep you warm and will increase your chance of hypothermia. Though with enough alcohol inside, you may not care or be aware enough to know that you are getting dangerously cold.

I have seen enough broken bones, hips and sprains to know that a slip and fall from icy conditions is too common. Prevention is key. Crawling will work in an extreme situation! I suggest using a slip-on crampon that goes over shoes or boots. They work well with minimal inconvenience. They are so effective that in some Arctic communities they are given away to some of the residents.

Darkness is a underestimated winter variable. The loss of joy, the restlessness, anger, and depression should not be discounted. Broadly speaking, our geographic migration has outstripped our genetic makeup. People freak out in both the extremes of the long Arctic winter and summer. Twenty-four hours of darkness or light is not psychologically comfortable for most people.

Exposure to bright light of sufficient (individual) duration is the treatment for shorter days. Buy one and follow the exposure directions. They work!