Summer heat

Louisiana’s summer season is a time of fun and relaxation for many but can turn deadly as temperatures and humidity soar.

Each year more than 600 people die from extreme heat throughout the United States, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Even more will suffer from heat related illnesses.

But, people do not have to be part of the statistics if he or she takes measures to stay cool, remain hydrated and keep informed.

The main items affecting a person’s ability to cool during extremely hot weather are:

* High Humidity. When the humidity is high, sweat will not evaporate as quickly. This keeps your body from releasing heat as fast as it may need.

* Personal factors. Age, obesity, fever, dehydration, heart disease, mental illness, poor circulation, sunburn and prescription drug and alcohol use all can play a role in whether a person can cool off enough in very hot weather.

Those 65 or older, children younger than two and those with chronic diseases or mental illness are at highest risk from the heat.

People at greatest risk for heat-related illness can take the following protective actions to prevent illness or death:

* Stay in air-conditioned buildings as much as you can. Contact your local health department or locate an air-conditioned shelter in your area. Air-conditioning is the number one way to protect yourself against heat-related illness and death. If your home is not air-conditioned, reduce your risk for heat-related illness by spending time in public facilities that are air-conditioned and using air conditioning in vehicles.

* Do not rely on a fan as your main cooling device during an extreme heat event.

* Drink more water than usual and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.

* Check on a friend or neighbor and have someone do the same for you.

* Don’t use the stove or oven to cook—it will make you and your house hotter.

People without great risk should still take precautions while working or playing in the outdoors this summer. Like those with high risk, people should drink plenty of fluids. They should also wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing and sunscreen and take cool showers or baths to cool down.

Face masks and heat

If you thought it was uncomfortable wearing a mask while temperatures were on the rise this spring, get ready for summer.

According to an article published in WebMD, switching to a different mask might help during the high humidity and heat.

Keeping both your mouth and nose covered is important, said Dr. Waleed Javaid, director of infection prevention and control at Mount Sinai Downtown in New York City. Folks struggling with their mask in the heat might try switching to a lightweight one that's more breathable.

Since masks are now more readily available, your chances of finding the lighter weight surgical masks are better.

According to the report on WebMD:

"A light surgical mask probably does the trick with the least amount of discomfort,” Javaid said.

Another less known fact Vavaid mentions: “If the mask starts to get damp due to your sweat, the ability to keep out the coronavirus lessens.”

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