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News for Norther Colorado and the world

Friday, December 19, 2014

State News: Tips for Staying Safe in Mid-Summer Heat

The forecast for the beginning of the week in Colorado is hot. Some areas will be flirting with triple-digit temperatures. That has medical professionals spreading the word to stay cool, stay hydrated and don’t overdo it. These are crucial to avoid heat stroke, which can be fatal.

Physician Chris Colwell, associate director of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Denver Health, says it is critical to avoid spending too much time in enclosed places such as cars or small apartments.

“It takes a very short amount of time to develop significant heat dangers on a hot day, particularly in the right environment,” Colwell said.

Colwell says there is no real “safe” amount of time to be in a hot car. Indoors, the best idea may be to escape and head to the pool or an air-conditioned shopping mall.

Colwell says people too often make the mistake of going outside when it’s hot because they think of it as a good way to make up for skipped workouts.

“They think, ‘I get more bang for my buck if I exercise hard when it’s hotter.’ That’s a dangerous approach to take.”

Colwell says even athletes practicing in the summer heat need time to acclimate to the higher temperatures.

“People need up to 10 days of gradually increased exercise in the heat, as opposed to going in with a full workout.”

Colwell says it’s also a good idea to check up on elderly relatives, friends, neighbors or anyone else who might have a hard time getting out of the heat for any reason.

“In the emergency department, we see tragic cases of situations where nobody realized that someone wasn’t able to get out of the heat, and deaths have resulted from that.”

If a person must stay inside their home, the doctor suggests they keep the windows closed and lower the shades, because running a fan near an open window actually can raise the indoor temperature. Also, he says, using appliances only at night and switching to CFL light bulbs will cut down on indoor heat.

— Colorado News Connection

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