How does a guy from the Northwest cope with the sweltering hot and shirt-soaking humid summers in the South? The answer is, he doesn’t! I sweat it out all summer long. In fact, my aversion to the South’s suffocating heat is so bad that beads of sweat appear on my forehead when I think about going outside in the summertime.
Those of you who are not from the South should know it is even shockingly hot outside at night! Okay, so maybe I’m a little too sensitive to the South’s intense humid heat but this son of the West Coast has never acclimated in my fifteen-plus years residing below the Mason Dixon Line.
Southern summers drive me to heat stressing!
For you Northwesterners snickering at my plight, choke on this. Come winter, I may take up golfing and sip on a glass of lemonade to cool off after a brisk jog along the Savannah River. You can think of me while you stay dry inside your igloos sipping coffee, eating smoked salmon and listening to Pearl Jam.
All ribbing aside, this heat causes lots of trouble for even the most adapted Southern ladies and gents. Throughout June, July and August we hear heat-wave warnings on the news delivered as if Godzilla was “fixin” to attack Tokyo. It is serious business, and really cannot be taken lightly.
As opposed to my “heat stressing,” the actual physical condition know as “heat stress” is something we all should know about.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) warns that workers who are exposed to extreme heat or work in hot environments may be at risk for heat stress. NIOSH goes on to encourage employers to train employees to understand what heat stress is, how it affects health and safety and how to prevent it.
The following definitions describe the ways heat stress manifests itself:
Heat Stroke: inability to control body temperature
Heat Exhaustion: fatigue caused by excessive bodily loss of salt and water
Heat Syncope: dizziness and fainting caused from lack of climate acclimatization
Heat Cramp: muscle cramping cause from depleted salt and moisture levels
Heat Rash: skin inflammation caused by excessive sweating
The Center for Disease Control prescribes very specific methods to treat heat stress which I recommend reviewing in case the need arises to react. Click here to read these beneficial tips.
While it is important to know how to deal with heat stress, preparing in advance to reduce exposure to heat stress is the preferred approach. Click Below to download the Infographic: 5 methods to Stay Safe During Heat Wave, suggested by the American Red Cross.
During August, as I tune up my lawn mower again and turn my longing gaze toward the Northwest, I’ll do so early in the morning with a water jug nearby and my Southern-babe wife looking on while listening to the local weather report. I’ll take a break after I complete the front lawn and before I mow the back.
Hey, it is almost September; I’ve almost made it through another sweltering Southern summer! Pretty soon my pals in Seattle are going to gaze southward as they slip on their Sorel boots and flannel shirts and venture out into the cold rain to the local coffee shop.
My preparation to beat the heat has paid off, and I survived my heat stressing again while avoiding heat stress! So I say, “On to the beautiful Southern Fall weather!” I wonder if they have cold stressing up north? Wouldn’t know… I suppose that’s a topic for another time.
Y’all don’t be heat stressing now!
Take control of heat stress risk, follow the Red Cross’ advice, and most of all . . . stay Southern cool.
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