Summer is approaching and with it comes the heat and humidity, those that have lived in Kentucky and the southeast U.S. know this time of year all to well. Today as I sit here deciding what my fit tip is going to be about I watch the thermometer rise to a record high for this day since 1991. I have lived in Bowling Green over 10yrs now and have met people who have moved to this region from all different climates and seasons from around the world. The summer season here is a challenge for those newcomers who are not acclimated and the humidity always gets the blame, almost everyone agrees that humidity makes it hotter and with good reason. The HEAT INDEX I love being outdoors and appreciate the heat more than the cold but when you add moisture to the air you increase how hot if FEELS to the body which is called the HEAT INDEX. Our bodies cool by sweating (which is blood that has been filtered through the skin) by releasing heat through sweat glands that act like a natural air-conditioner to the body. When the air is saturated with moisture and close to the dew point, the sweat doesn’t evaporate and the body fails to dissipate that heat. We hear about the Heat Index all the time because there is great danger for people who are not healthy enough to withstand these extreme swings in temperature, every year in Kentucky people suffer and die from the dangers of heat. Young babies are left in hot cars and the elderly fall by the wayside doing yard work or just walking to the mailbox because they get dehydrated, too hot and organs shut down. Adults with high blood pressure, heart or lung conditions and diabetes are at risk, as well as the air pollution. Please use caution!
Check out the chart, with an 88° temp (not uncommon in BG) and 70% humidity you are raising the Heat Index to make it feel a smothering 100° temp. Feeling this hot you are flirting with danger; fatigue, heat exhaustion, and possible heat stroke (sun-cooked brains). When you have to schedule activities or want to be outside this summer treat any Heat Index temperature above 90° with caution and consider these tips to prepare:
- Acclimation – give your body short periods (30-50mins) of time outdoors to adjust to the Sun
- Time of day – best time to be outdoors is before 10am and after 6:30pm (avoid 12-4pm)
- Clothing – wear breathable, light colors, sunglasses for your eyes, sunscreen if you want
- Hydrate – 100 ounces plus 50z. every 15-20mins outdoors (electrolyte replacement for long sun exposer)
- If you feel nauseous, light-headed, sick, have blurred vision, or get muscle cramps, get of sun and seek medical help – could be signs of heat stroke
- Check on neighbors, parents, and grand-parents – The elderly and young are especially vulnerable to the heat.