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Summer Heat Precautions

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July 24, 2019

Announcer: Farm and Family is a production of the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Amy Myers: Today we're talking about summer heat precautions.

Hello, I'm Amy Taylor and welcome to Farm and Family.

Today we're speaking with Mary Linda Moore, Mississippi State University Extension Service Agent.

Mary Linda, we have always been known here in Mississippi for the extreme heat and humidity. What can happen if we overwork ourselves or overdo anything on hot days?

Mary Linda Moore: Number one, heat stroke, usually as a result of prolonged exposure, to physical exertion in high temperatures. The most serious form of heat injury, heat stroke, can occur if your body temperature rises to 104 Fahrenheit, or higher.

Heat stroke does require emergency treatment. Untreated heat stroke can quickly damage your brain, heart, kidneys, even your muscles. The damage worsens the longer treatment is delayed and increases your risk of more serious complications, or can even lead to death.

Amy Myers: And dehydration?

Mary Linda Moore: Yes, it's when the body loses fluids, mostly water, exceeds the amount that is taken in. More water is moving out of your cells and bodies than what we take in through drinking, and when we lose too much water, our bodies can become out of balance or dehydrated. Severe dehydration can lead to death as well.

Cataracts. Cataracts is the clouding of the lens in the eye that affects your vision. It actually can be contributed to overexposure of the sun. And then, macular degeneration. Some experts believe that overexposure to sun could be a contributing factor, and that is damage to the retina.

Last but certainly not least is skin cancer. There are several different types. Melanoma is the most severe and more likely to spread.

Amy Myers: Now, there is a difference between temperature and the heat index. Temperature is what the gauge would read, but heat index is what we feel like the temperature is. What temperature and heat index does it begin to get dangerous?

Mary Linda Moore: When the heat index reaches a 100 degrees Fahrenheit, that's when we're at most of a risk. This happens when the temperature is above 90 degrees Fahrenheit and the humidity is above 60%.

Amy Myers: What are the signs and symptoms of getting overheated?

Mary Linda Moore: Some of the signs would be nausea, weakness, fainting. When your skin gets really clammy. One of the early warning signs is that your skin may become red and dry.

And let me just mention the signs of skin cancer. If you notice bumps that are unusual and that bleed, and moles that scale and then repeat that cycle, they may scale and heal and then scale and heal again. And any moles that change color or shape.

Amy Myers: Okay, so tell me about treatment.

Mary Linda Moore: Your first action would be to stop the activity that you're doing and then to move to a cooler place, if there's a shaded place, or even get in an air conditioning facility. Improve circulation with a fan or an air conditioner. Sponge the body with cool water, take sips of cold water, diluted juice, or some type of sports drink. If it's very serious, then you need to seek medical attention.

And remember that the very young children and elderly are at more of a risk. Keep babies younger than six months out of direct sun.

Amy Myers: We can prevent heat illness. How do we prevent it?

Mary Linda Moore: Number one, avoid heavy physical exertion in the middle of the day, and that would be from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Consider exercising less intensely during these hot conditions. Wear light colored cotton clothing that's breathable. Drink at least eight ounces of water or diluted fruit juice each hour for every 15 minutes if you're exercising. Avoid alcoholic beverages. Wear a broad brimmed hat. Look for sunglasses that block UVA and UVB light. Use the 15 to 30 SPF sunscreen lotions. Sunscreen loses its potency, so don't use last year's, you want to buy new sunscreen.

Amy Myers: Okay, and we should also not forget about our pets. It takes only a couple of minutes for a vehicle to reach unsafe temperatures, even if we have our windows open and ventilated.

Today, we've been speaking with Mary Linda Moore, Extension Service Agent.

I'm Amy Taylor, and this has been Farm and Family. Have a great day.

Announcer: Farm and Family is a production of the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Department: MSU Extension- Alcorn County

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