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Top 10 Tips for Avoiding a Heat Stroke this El Nino Season

Although the arrival of June and start of classes signals the end of summer, this year’s El Nino phenomenon has meteorologists worried that the hot and dry weather just might last for another few months.

Although we’re lucky not to have experienced any significant heat waves, there have been at least 3 fatalities in May alone caused by a blistering 42ºC heat index.

Normally, the body is highly effective at regulating its own body temperature, releasing water to cool itself in a process you all know: sweating. However, when the body becomes dehydrated, it runs out of water to cool itself with, resulting in a dramatic spike of body temperature up to 40ºC—heat exhaustion territory. If this continues, it can result in a heat stroke.

The trick to avoiding heat stroke is finding ways to keep your body cool throughout the day. Here are the top 10 ways to do just that.

1. Wear Light Clothes

Avoid wearing thick clothes and fabrics like knitwear, sweaters, jackets, hoodies and more during the day. Stick with loose and light-colored clothes that are lightweight and don’t absorb the sun’s heat. Stay away from dark clothes which retain heat more effectively—wear these at night instead.

2. Bring an Umbrella With You.

Umbrellas aren’t just for protecting yourself against rain, they act as a barrier against harsh sunlight. You can also wear a wide-brimmed hat to protect yourself against the heat of the sun.

3. Limit your Time Outdoors

If you can, avoid being outdoors between 10 in the morning and 4 in the afternoon—these are the hours when the day is at its hottest. Stay indoors or try to stay in the shade as much as you can.

4. Stay Hydrated

If you must be outdoors, be sure to drink up. On average, men need 3.7 liters of fluids per day, and women need 2.7 liters. A good rule of thumb is to look at your urine—you’ll know you’re hydrate if it’s anything between light yellow and colorless. Anything darker means you need more water. Remember, you’re losing water through sweating, answering nature’s call, and breathing.

5. Limit your Caffeine Intake

Although coffee and tea are technically fluids, they’re also diuretics—substances that encourage the production of urine. So you end up expelling more water the more you up your caffeine intake. A cup of Joe in the morning won’t hurt, but anything more than 2 to 3 cups probably does you more harm than good.

6. Exercise Wisely

For activities spent outdoors, like running, jogging, walking, or cycling, be sure to do it in the cooler parts of the day—before 10 in the morning and well after 4 in the afternoon. For really hot days, take it easy and remember to stay hydrated.

7. Run your Wrists Under Water

When you feel the heat really getting to you, run your wrists under cold water, which works to quickly cool your blood. This works because your wrists are just one of a few areas where blood flows closely to your skin. This also works on your ankles, temples, and neck.

8. Maintain an Easy Pace

If you’re note used to working or exercising under the sun, be sure to take it easy and start slow. If you find yourself gasping for air and flushed because of the heat, stop and get under the shade or indoors. LISTEN to your body.

9. Wear Sunscreen

Prevent sunburn by wearing sunscreen before venturing outside for more than 30 minutes. Sunburn affects your body’s ability to regulate its temperature, and also encourages fluid loss. Not to mention it hurts and causes damage to your skin.

10. Have a Buddy when Working Outdoors

When working or exercising in the heat, it helps to have someone else watching you, and you doing the same for him/her. Heat exhaustion causes confusion and impedes your judgment, so have someone watch out for you.

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