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Summer is here in full strength with temperatures in the high 90s at time, so it is time to refresh your memory on how to care for yourself in the heat.


By Sally A. Perkins We forget that it takes time to acclimate to high temperature and high humidity.


To acclimate to the heat, it is better to gradually spend time in the heat for 20 minutes at a time then take a fluid break and cool off. By doing this, you can gradually build up the time you spend in the heat so the effects are more tolerable.


❚ You perspire, sweat or “glisten” when you are hot. Sweating is your body’s mechanism to cool itself. To be able to sweat, you must have available fluids in your body. If not, your body takes fluid from organs and blood to try to cool itself. Once fluids in the body have been depleted then you stop sweating and are in real trouble. Your body can no longer cool itself and your core temperature rises.


❚ There have been documented cases of heat stroke, with a core temperature of 107 degrees, resulting in death. When it is hot and/or humid, it is very important to take frequent breaks, every 20 minutes, from activity and drink additional fluids such as water or electrolyte drinks. If you are physically active you should


drink more than normal.


❚ Our skin needs help, too, when it is hot and sunny. Sunscreen should be applied to all exposed areas and reapplied every one to two hours,


especially if you are sweating or swimming.


Try to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen to protect yourself from all UV rays. If you are out on the lake, playing golf, tennis, pickleball, cycling, etc., you should wear an SPF of 30 or higher. If you can, try to avoid the hours of 10-4, as the sun is the most intense. These times are typical for participation in these activities.


❚ For many of us, the sun damage we sustained as children is now catching up to us. How many of you remember getting burned from the sun and peeling the skin off the area burned? If you do then you probably have skin damage in that area. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that you see a dermatologist once a year after the age of 40. This is to check for melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma, which start appearing on the skin at our age. If you see something on your skin that looks “different,” multiple colors, such as brown and black, irregular borders, raised or bleeding, you should see your physician within a week.


❚ The Savannah Lakes Village Cancer Support Group is sponsoring its annual skin cancer screening at the Recreation Center Nov.11. More information will be forthcoming regarding this very important program.


Sally A. Perkins is a Certified Athletic Trainer licensed in South Carolina. She has taught courses in gerontology, anatomy, physiology, health, medical and orthopedic conditions, fitness and strength training. She has worked with athletic teams and physically active people of all ages in the area of athletic training and sports medicine.


ShorelinesMagazine.com • July 2014 • 29


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