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Summer Tips: Drink Water!

By Lina Younes

Summer has started in earnest. Record high temperatures are blanketing the country, especially the eastern states. What is one of the most important things to do to survive this extreme heat? Drink water to stay hydrated!

The elderly, children and pregnant women are most susceptible to extreme temperatures. As part of the aging process, adults in their golden years tend to lose their sense of thirst. Thus, they are at a greater risk of dehydration and they are more vulnerable to environmental impacts. On the other hand, children can easily become dehydrate by outdoor activities because they lack the better judgement to recognize some of the signs of dehydration.

In children, what are some of these signs?

  • Decreased physical activity
  • Lack of tears when crying
  • Dry mouth
  • Irritability and fussiness

If you don’t drink cool water regularly, dehydration can lead to heat stroke which can be life-threatening and requires immediate, medical attention.

What are some of the signs of heat stroke both in kids as in adults?

  • Skin is flushed, red and dry
  • Little or no sweating
  • Deep breathing
  • Dizziness, headache, and/or fatigue
  • Less urine is produced, of a dark yellowish color
  • Confusion, loss of consciousness
  • In adults, hallucinations and aggression

In addition to staying hydrated, here are some other tips to survive the summer heat:

  • Stay in the shade
  • If you have to work outside, try to do so in the early hours before the heat hits its peak
  • Dress appropriately with loose, light-weight clothing and light colors

So, remember to drink that cool water often. Enjoy the summer and stay safe. Do you have any recommendations on how to survive the heat?

About the author: Lina Younes is the Multilingual Outreach and Communications Liaison for EPA. Among her duties, she’s responsible for outreach to Hispanic organizations and media. She spearheaded the team that recently launched EPA’s new Spanish website, www.epa.gov/espanol . She manages EPA’s social media efforts in Spanish. She’s currently the editor of EPA’s new Spanish blog, Conversando acerca de nuestro medio ambiente. Prior to joining the agency, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and an international radio broadcaster. She has held other positions in and out of the Federal Government.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Keeping Cool in Extreme Heat

By Alex Gorsky

I am lucky enough to be able to know my grandparents. My maternal grandmother lives in Florida while my dad’s parents live in the same town that I do. I get to see them all fairly often when I am not in school and they always want to know what I have been up to and what I plan on doing with my life. I tell them I am not quite sure but that I am interested in the environmental field. When I told them that I was going to be working for the Environmental Protection Agency they were happy for me. Even better, I was going to be working on the Aging Initiative, and would give them information about staying healthy in today’s environmentally conscious world.

One day I called up my grandmother in Florida and we began to talk about our summers, how hot it was, and her preparing for the hurricane season. As we’re talking about it, it struck me odd as to how much preparation there is before hurricane season, but practically no one pays attention to or adequate preparation is given for extreme heat events. An extreme heat event is when the temperature reaches at least 10˚ F above the region’s average high temperature. For example in Tampa, Florida it would be over 100˚ F and in Chicago it would be anything over 91˚ F Extreme heat events kills more people than hurricanes, lightning, tornadoes, floods, and earthquakes combined. All around the country this summer people have been experiencing extreme heat events. Fortunately, my grandparents have air conditioning, which is the best thing to use to prevent hospitalization due to exposure to excessive heat.

Unfortunately there are many people who live without air conditioning in areas with excessive heat. Fortunately, there are many ways to prevent heat stroke and other illnesses caused by extreme heat events. You can visit an air-conditioned building in your neighborhood like a senior center, movie theater, or library. You could also take a cool shower. Drinking lots of fluids, not only when you are thirsty, is another easy way to prevent heat stroke.

Hopefully you will pass this information on to your grandparents too.

About the author: Alex Gorsky is an intern in the Office of Public Engagement. He is a senior at Beloit College majoring in Environmental Studies.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.