By Harriet Epstein
What a joy! Summer is here again! Because Covid is somewhat under control in the DC area, and you, of course, have had the anti-viral vaccine, you are ready to return to the world of going out more, spending more time with friends and family, and feeling better. And this is good, but with cautions. Here are some thoughts about how to protect yourself from the extreme heat we are experiencing this summer, and possible problems when engaging in water activities.
Many people, like my friend Doris, love outdoor summer activities, but I find the older I get, the worse I feel in heat over 85 degrees. Even if you are more like Doris than me, be sure to stay hydrated, work or play outside only early or late in the day, wear sun screen and light clothing, and maybe a big hat. If you start to feel strange, have someone check to see if you might possibly have either Heat Exhaustion or Heat Stroke. They have opposite symptoms. If you have Heat Exhaustion you may be sweating a lot, have cold skin, and feel dizzy. Go inside to a cool place, sit or lie down, drink water, and use cold compresses. Preferably have someone stay with you until you feel better. If you have Heat Stroke, you may have a throbbing headache, no sweat, and hot dry skin. Get inside and call 911 right away as this can be very serious. About 30 years ago at the Scottish Games in Alexandria, I had mild heat stroke and had to lie down at the First Aid station for quite a while, during which time cooling treatments were administered. Today I stay inside as much as possible.
Always go swimming or boating with a buddy. No breath holding contests or games, no alcohol. Wear a life jacket if boating, as the water may still be very cold if you fall in. Many more precautions will be needed if you have a home pool or you include children in these water activities with you. Maybe ask your grandkids’ parents to come along and watch their kids, allowing you to spend more time watching out for your own safety.
One more little precaution. It has recently been discovered that some super-athletic types who had not been able to work out during the virus at the same level of intensity they enjoyed previously, are now going back to the gym and immediately attempting to reach their prior levels. They sometimes have strange physical problems after the workout.. The word is, build up slowly to any previous strenuous level of exertion!
Please don’t think I’m trying to spoil all the fun. Just know the rules and know your personal limits. Then you will bloom!