BOYER: You might think you're used to the heat, but ...

July 24, 2013 

EC Boyer01

ED CRISOSTOMO/ecrisostomo@modbee.com Community columnist Craig R. Boyer smiles for the camera on Friday afternoon (12-28-12) in Modesto CA.

ED CRISOSTOMO — Modesto Bee

I've heard the statement "some like it hot."

Well, I don't.

If there's one thing I hate about summer it's the heat. I have to walk in it, tend the yard in it and wait for the bus in it. If the bus is late or breaks down, which does happen, the day seems that much hotter.

This summer has been especially hot. We've already experienced triple-digit temperatures for days in a row. As I write this, all 10 days in the 10-day Modesto forecast are near 100 degrees.

The heat is not just intolerable but can be deadly. Twenty-three people died in Stanislaus County during the great San Joaquin Valley heat wave of 2006. More than 7,200 Americans died of heat illness from 1999-2009, according to the CDC. To raise awareness of this deadly illness, Wednesday is National Heatstroke Prevention Day.

It will be a long time before the weather gets cooler. Right now the best thing to do is to minimize the misery. Do whatever it takes to keep yourself cool.

Here are some ways to protect yourself from the heat.

• Fluids: Hydration is very important. A soothing drink will make being outside more bearable. Water is the best source of hydration. Get it wherever you can. Alcohol is the wrong choice since it increases dehydration and heat injury.

• Safe place: If you're out walking on a hot day, find a spot every now and then to cool off. Some good places to go are under a shady tree or in an air-conditioned building. Take some time off to soak in that cool air. You can get going once you cool down.

• Air conditioning: It's important that you have a well- maintained air conditioner. It's amazing how much worse a hot day can be if the A/C breaks down. If you don't have an A/C, use an electric fan or even spray water on your skin.

When you're outside, carry a paper fan, a battery operated fan, or even a water pistol for the kids. You can even improvise with a newspaper (after you finish this one).

• Do not leave anyone in hot cars. It takes 10 minutes for the temperatures inside to rise to fatal levels. Even leaving the window down a bit won't help much. Make sure everyone is with you when you exit the car.

Last year, 33 children in this country died of heatstroke in hot cars. So far this year, 21 children have died.

• Clothing: The best clothing to wear on a hot day is loose, light-colored clothing. You'll get more cool air and less heat on your skin. A hat can provide you with portable shade. Although dark clothing may make you look "cool," you'll really feel just the opposite.

In my experience, the best way to beat the heat is to read the forecast. Adjust your routine according to the afternoon highs. If you adjust only to the morning lows, you'll feel miserable come afternoon.

Overall, being prepared for the heat makes it more tolerable. Maybe the heat really isn't that bad ... that is, until it gets to about 107 degrees.

Boyer is a Modesto resident. Send questions or comments to columns@modbee.com.

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