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Beat the Heat
Record-setting heat waves across North America have pushed the mercury to new and often dangerous heights. Sure, climate-controlled RVs can keep us safe for the ravages of high temperatures, but we can’t stay in our vehicles all the time. Picnics, hikes, open-air potluck meals and outdoor sporting activities expose us to the hot sun, and often put us in danger of heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
Caused by dehydration, heat exhaustion can lead to a potentially fatal heat stroke. During heat stroke, the body loses the ability to cool itself by sweating. The body overheats, putting internal organs in grave danger.
Heat-exhaustion victims are often nauseous, disoriented and suffering muscle cramps. Heat stroke victims may suffer seizures, fainting and dry, hot skin. Call 911 if you suspect heat stroke.
Heat disproportionately affects the elderly, but even young, fit campers are at risk of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Obesity, fever, dehydration, heart disease, mental illness, poor circulation, sunburn, and prescription drug and alcohol use also can play a role in whether a person can cool off enough in very hot weather.
Fortunately, outdoors enthusiasts can combat the heat with a little common sense and an awareness of the dangers posed by high temperatures. Here are a few tips:
Stay in an air-conditioned, indoor location whenever possible. Become a regular at the campground’s clubhouse, or duck into your air-conditioned RV if convenient.
Drink plenty of fluids. The body loses a remarkable amount of liquids from perspiration alone. Drinking non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated liquids will help replenish your body.
Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing and sunscreen. Stay comfortable and avoid sunburns, which can only compound heat-related illnesses.
Schedule outdoor activities carefully. Outdoors social gatherings are great, but, if possible, keep them in the shade or indoors.
Be extra careful in humid environments. When the humidity is high, sweat won’t evaporate as quickly, which prevents your body from releasing heat as fast as it may need to.
Pace yourself. Physical exertion can only hasten fluid loss and invite heat-related illness.
Take cool showers or baths to cool down. Like coolant to an overheated engine, water goes a long way toward regulating your body’s temperature.
Check on a friend or neighbor and have someone do the same for you.
Don’t leave children or pets in cars.
Check the local news for health and safety updates. Watch for high-temperature forecasts and plan around that.
More Information, consult the Centers for Disease Control.