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Beat the Heat

Beat the Heat!

Tips for staying cool this summer

We love summer and all the fun we get to have playing outside. But too much of a good thing can ruin your summer fun. Our friends at the Brunswick Wellness Coalition have offered some tips to help you beat the heat this summer. Whether you’re planning a day splashing in the waves or heading out on a boat, these suggestions from Lindsay Mayer, MPA, Executive Director of the Coalition, can help keep you safe all summer long.

Wear appropriate clothing: Choose lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.

Stay cool indoors: Stay in an air-conditioned place as much as possible. If your home does not have air conditioning, go to the shopping mall or public library—even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat. Call your local health department to see if there are any heat-relief shelters in your area. Keep in mind that electric fans may provide comfort, but when the temperature is in the high 90s, they will not prevent heat-related illness. Taking a cool shower or bath or moving to an air-conditioned place is a much better way to cool off. Use your stove and oven less to maintain a cooler temperature in your home.

Schedule outdoor activities carefully: Try to limit your outdoor activity to when it’s coolest, like morning and evening hours. Rest often in shady areas so that your body has a chance to recover.

Pace yourself: Cut down on exercise during the heat. If you’re not accustomed to working or exercising in a hot environment, start slowly and pick up the pace gradually. If exertion in the heat makes your heart pound and leaves you gasping for breath, STOP all activity. Get into a cool area or into the shade, and rest, especially if you become lightheaded, confused, weak, or faint.

Wear sunscreen: Sunburn affects your body’s ability to cool down and can make you dehydrated. If you must go outdoors, protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and by putting on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher 30 minutes prior to going out. Continue to reapply it according to the package directions. Tip: Look for sunscreens that say “broad spectrum” or “UVA/UVB protection” on their labels- these products work best.

Drink lots and lots of water! If you’re outdoors, try to drink some water every 15 minutes. Avoid caffeine and alcohol as both will make dehydration occur more quickly.

Eat well: Eat water-dense and cold foods like salads, fresh fruits and vegetables to stay hydrated and keep cool.

And don’t forget to consider your four-legged friends too. If you leave dogs outside during the day, make sure they have access to shade and plenty of water. When walking, don’t let them linger too long on hot surfaces such as asphalt or sand, and be on the lookout for symptoms of overheating, such as difficulty breathing and excessive panting, according to the ASPCA. And don’t leave pets in closed up vehicles.

If you live here full-time or if you’re just visiting, don’t think you have to spend every waking minute on the beach. There are plenty of activities you can do when it’s hot to break up some of your beach time. One way to cool off is to try the new Splash Pad on Oak Island, at the Middleton Park fields on SE 46th Street. Though it’s still outside, the kids will have a have a blast getting sprayed and standing under the big bucket when it spills over. Just don’t forget to lotion up with sunscreen first. Day trips are also a great way to spend some time out of the heat. Take the Ft. Fisher Ferry to Carolina Beach and back (just $7 per car per trip across). Tour the NC Aquarium while you’re there, or just enjoy the scenic ride across the water. Spend some time in stores — while you’re enjoying the air conditioning, you can pick up unique gifts for friends and family they won’t be able to find anywhere else. Or plan a visit to the NC Maritime Museum at Southport — did you know they have a working periscope inside the museum? You could even grab some lunch or your own picnic fixings and stake out a shady spot under one of the majestic live oak trees in Southport’s Franklin Square Park or on the Garrison lawn.

Whatever your plans this summer, just remember the basics — plenty of water, use sunscreen and don’t overdo it — and you’ll be sure to have your best summer yet.

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