EDITORIAL: Don't be done in by the dog days of summer

Jun. 20, 2014 @ 05:00 AM

Saturday may be the first official day of summer, but blistering temperatures have arrived ahead of the season. And with the thermometer consistently breaking 90 lately, this is likely just the beginning.

This week has been a scorcher, to put it mildly, which must be at least bothersome for fans in the Sandhills for the U.S. Women's Open. In fact, the U.S. Golf Association is giving each person a voucher for a free bottle of water.

Obviously, the summertime heat can be good for growing gardens, playing in pools, days at the beach and other outdoor activities we look forward to all year. On the other hand, people and animals can languish in the extreme temperatures — particularly the most vulnerable segments of our population like the young and the elderly.

Being safety conscious is the best way to beat the heat. The National Weather Service offers the following tips:

* Slow down. Reduce, eliminate or reschedule strenuous activities until the coolest time of the day. Children, seniors and anyone with health problems should stay in the coolest available place, not necessarily indoors.

* Dress for summer. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing to reflect heat and sunlight.

* Put less fuel on your inner fires. Foods, like meat and other proteins that increase metabolic heat production, also increase water loss.

* Drink plenty of water, non-alcoholic and decaffeinated fluids. Your body needs water to keep cool. Drink plenty of fluids even if you don't feel thirsty. Persons who have epilepsy or heart, kidney or liver disease, are on fluid restrictive diets or have a problem with fluid retention should consult a physician before increasing their consumption of fluids. Do not drink alcoholic beverages and limit caffeinated beverages.

* During excessive heat periods, spend more time in air-conditioned places. Air conditioning in homes and other buildings markedly reduces danger from the heat. If you cannot afford an air conditioner, go to a library, store or other location with air conditioning for part of the day.

* Don't get too much sun. Sunburn reduces your body's ability to dissipate heat.

* Do not take salt tablets unless specified by a physician.

Here's wishing you a fun — and safe — summer.