Thursday, June 20, 2013

Summer Heat at UT Tyler

Summer days are here again as the heat rises and the stress filled sweat of the past semester begins to fall. We skip and dance about in the summer sun, taking in its rays with each passing second. Yet, these summer rays are deceitful and full of lies and hate..... especially when it comes to your skin. Before leaving your apartment / house / condo / penthouse / underpass / cave, you should take the time to prepare for the intense heat the East Texas summer tends to bring. Last summer I wrote a blog on keeping cool in the summer inside your place of residence and now it's time I take a different approach to the summer.

According to statistics (these you can believe) between 1979 and 2003 there were about 8,000 heat related deaths in the United States. The heat in Texas is especially dangerous as the local weather's personality is wishy-washy to say the least. this is even true during the summer months as the weather can go from a comfortable 76 degrees (This is America so I'll use Fahrenheit) to a sweltering triple digit afternoon with high humidity and not a cloud in the sky. So I though I would put together a short but useful tip guide on how to prepare for the summer in Tyler, Texas.

Before even thinking about stepping foot outside there are a few things you must do first.

1) Check The Weather
Look up what the weather will be like for the day and separate the forecast by morning, afternoon, and
evening. the weather. this will allow you to see what the day has in store so you can plan your day accordingly. For Example: If it's supposed to be warm and sunny early in the day and rainy and muggy in the afternoon head out to the lake or swim in the pool earlier in the day. If the weather disrupts all outdoor activity you can always travel to the local movie theater and check out one of the summer blockbusters in air conditioning. Also, be aware of severe weather that the early summer can bring through the region such as lightening, thunderstorms, hail, and tornadoes. It is always best to stay inside and pay attention to your local news stations in the event of severe weather.

2) Dress Accordingly
Whether you are planning on staying in all day or planning an all day hike you always need to plan your attire. Cotton is always your friend in the summer months. It's a breathable fabric that is easy to wash and care for. As most of you may know you should avoid most synthetic fibers as they are usually rough, hot, and generally uncomfortable to wear. Wear loose-fitting, lightweight clothing and a wide-brimmed hat to keep you cool. That being said you should always think about tip #1 when dressing for a summer day in Texas. For example: if you get caught out in a summer rainstorm you want to have more than your toms and a Wal-Mart sack. Try keeping an umbrella in your car at all times just in case. Plus you can open up the umbrella even when its sunny to make some quick shade for yourself. You may think you look silly but all those onlookers won't be laughing when their skin turns red and starts to peel (too much?)

3) Mind The Sun
According to the CDC only about 58% of adults properly protect themselves against the sun through things such as applying sunscreen or simply seeking shade. Only 32% reported to using sunscreen at all. Sunscreen is one of the most important tools you can use when protecting yourself against the sun. You should apply a generous amount to any part of your body that is not covered by clothing including you nose, cheeks, and forehead. I recently made the mistake of not applying sunscreen when I was outside recently and paid for it with a nasty sunburn on my forehead. In accordance to tip #2 you should also take advantage of the many stylish wide-brimmed hats that are available at your local clothing retailer. Seriously... PROTECT YOURSELF!

4) Water Is Your Best Friend
The CDC recommends that you drink about 2 full glasses of water each hour to stay hydrated in summer conditions. Really cold ice water is not recommended after being exposed to high temperatures for an extended period of time as it can lead to bad stomach cramps. You should also avoid alcoholic beverages or those high in sugar as they will both further dehydrate you. Sports drinks are fine if you sweat a lot but not as a substitute for water. As you sweat you also lose important minerals such as salt which a sports drink will help to replenish. However, you should be wary of how much you drink and remember how much better water is for your overall health.

Be sure to visit the CDC's webpage on extreme heat for further information on how to stay cool and safe this summer.

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