Last month my face broke out in a horrific rash. I’m still trying to figure out what it was, but I know that the heat outdoors here in Florida was not helping. Was it an allergic reaction? Was it a shingles outbreak? Or was it due to overheating from playing Pickleball outside in the sun when the “feels like” temperature was 107 degrees? Well one thing I have learned since the face rash has gone away; I do know how to handle the heat better.
WATCH THE TIME OF DAY
I have changed my behavior from playing Pickleball when it is so hot, to starting at 7:00 am. The sun isn’t even up yet, but I am cruising down the street in my golf cart, equipped with 32 ounces of ice water and a cold wet rag in a Ziploc baggie. I started playing Pickleball last fall and am finally beginning to get some good volleys in. Last week I played four mornings in a row waking up in the dark to get to our reserved court. Gone are the days of playing at noon, at least for the next month or so.
DRINK LOTS OF WATER
I start each morning drinking a large glass of water with my coffee. I still need/want coffee when I wake up, but that can cause dehydration. To counter that, I drink water and have some fruit when I wake up. I have been prone to have leg cramps, so I take magnesium and eat bananas which helps limit leg cramp episodes.
STAY COOL IN AIR CONDITIONING
Fortunately in Florida, people are used to this heat and most everyone has an air-conditioned home. The schools are air-conditioned as are most places inside. I recall when my kids were little in New York, we would have some heat waves. On those sweltering days, I would take them to the public library. Reading books to report on for the summer reading program or taking turns on the computers would keep them entertained and cool for a few hours.
TAKE COOL SHOWERS
Some places have a great pool, lake or ocean to swim in to cool off and I am all for enjoying the great outdoors. However, here in Florida the surface water temperature has recently been recorded at 100 degrees Fahrenheit! Add that to the hot sun and “feels like” 107 and suddenly the great outdoors does not seem like the place to cool off. Even my pool is registering at about 90 degrees so when I do play Pickleball or even take a short walk with my dog, a cool shower is pretty refreshing.
EAT LIGHT MEALS
In this heat, you do not want to feel full or bloated. Stick with eating small meals, maybe more often. Also, beware of drinking alcohol. It may seem refreshing to have a beer or ice cold cocktail, but drinking too much alcohol can lead to dehydration or even a more serious heat illness like heat stroke.
USE THE DRAPES, NOT THE OVEN
Keeping the blinds down or drapes over the windows can help keep the house cooler during these hot days. The oven uses a lot of energy and will heat up the whole house. We try to use the toaster oven or stove top if needed but not for long periods of time during this heat. Even better, take the airconditioned car to the airconditioned restaurant and have someone else make dinner. Just being helpful with ideas here!
WEAR LIGHT CLOTHING, HATS, AND PONY TAILS
This is not the time for dark, tight clothes. Be comfortable. Wear light color clothes as the sun on dark colors will make you feel hotter. Protect your skin with sunscreen or long sleeve SPF shirts and wear hats. I do like wearing sleeveless tank tops but I use sunscreen on my arms. I feel much cooler outside if my hair is up off my neck so it is just long enough that I can pull it into a pony tail.
Lastly, please keep an eye on your pets. The black asphalt can get very hot and burn your pets paws so watch the places where they are walking.
If you have elderly neighbors, keep an eye on them too. Check that their air conditioning is working. The heat can be worse for older people as they do not regulate the temperature in their body as easily as younger people. Also older people tend to be on medications like antidepressants, antihistamines, beta blockers and diuretics which can impact the body’s ability to sweat or circulate blood properly. This impairs the body’s ability to self-regulate its temperature, making someone more susceptible to the heat.
I hope that you are staying safe and cool this summer. I hope that by following these suggestions myself, I can avoid another awful rash like the one I experienced last month.