Rob Molla, the UUA Director of Human Resources, contributed this post- Ed.
With our attention turned toward the upcoming Justice General Assembly and the strong Phoenix sun, the UUA’s Office of Human Resources invited Howard L. Kramer, MD, PhD to meet with UUA staff recently to share some wisdom on staying safe in the heat, recognizing symptoms of sun- and heat-related illness, and basic first aid.
Dr. Kramer suggested a number of good ideas—here are the top ten—that we can bring with us to Phoenix:
- To prevent sunburn, use a sunscreen lotion with an SPF of at least 15. An SPF of 50 is better. Reapply the sunscreen frequently to slow skin damage from the sun.
- Wear a hat and long sleeves when you’re outdoors for protection from the sun.
- To cool your body more efficiently, choose light colored, loose-fitting clothing made of natural fabrics, which will encourage the movement of air around your skin and will encourage the evaporation of sweat.
- Drink 3-4 cups of liquid per hour when you’re active in moderate heat to prevent dehydration. Dr. Kramer suggests drinking both water and a sports drink such as Gatorade. Many sports drinks contains electrolytes, which will help replace the salt your body loses through perspiration.
- Heat rash results from blocked sweat glands. The best treatment is to keep your skin cool and dry, and to apply calamine lotion to relieve the itching.
- Heat stroke is a potentially deadly reaction to a dangerous rise in the body’s core temperature. Symptoms include a high body temperature, confusion, loss of coordination, and hot, dry skin. Seek immediate medical treatment right away by calling 911 and by moving the person to a cool, shaded or air conditioned location.
- Listen to what your body tells you: It’s a natural reaction to feel weaker and more tired in the heat. It’s your body’s way of saying slow down, cool off.
- Don’t be afraid to move into air conditioned spaces frequently. It’s a good way to lower your body temperature quickly to a more normal range, especially after being outside or after engaging in physical activities.
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and sweet sodas in a hot climate. These can impair your body’s naturally efficient cooling systems.
- Keep an eye on your friends and colleagues! We’re all healthier when we take care of each other.
And…Sandy Weir of the Arizona Immigration ministry reminded us this week that although there is much to be critical of in the government of Arizona, the state is home to many creative and wonderful people, and has extraordinary natural beauty. You can find much information about Arizona human and natural history, geography, arts and culture, and innovation at the Arizona Centennial Website. Check it out! –Ed.