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Surviving the relentless Southwest heat

 
As I write this we are suffering with 112 degrees heat outside.  It’s been that way for more than a week.  It’s getting really old.  I have lived out here since 1972 and I can tell you that it is getting hotter earlier in the year and staying that way into October.    So, how do we survive during this time of year?

1.       Activities have to be done early in the morning, between 5-8 am.  Forget anything strenuous, like hiking or outside construction projects.  It is 80 degrees all night, so there is no relief.   Forget evening time as well, as it is still into the 90s until 10 or 11 am.

2.       Drink, drink, drink water.  How much should you drink?  A good rule of thumb is to half your weight and drink that much in ounces.  So, if you are 150 pounds, drink at least 75 ounces of water.  I am saying water, not sodas or alcohol, which tend to dehydrate you.  I know, you don’t like water.  I am not a fan either, but I have found that putting a little lemon, lime, or pineapple juice makes it much more interesting and palatable; I also add some ice. 

3.       Watch for signs of dehydration.  There are several:  extremely tired and lethargic, extremely concentrated urine (more yellow than normal- your urine should just have a tinge of yellow), decreased amount of urine (you aren’t going to the bathroom as your normally do), constipation (less fluid causes your stools to be much drier), headaches, irritability (I know, it’s hot as hell, what do you expect?), feeling thirsty (duh), dry mouth and hoarseness, and muscle cramps.  Keep a glass of water around you all the time for sipping and if you have to go out to the store, take a bottle with you.  Always keep some water in the car; I like to have a few bottles on ice in a small cooler in the back seat.  Remember to take any plastic bottles out of the car when you get home.  Many still have BPA in the plastic which can leach into the water.

4.       Nap time.  A siesta has been the norm in this area for hundreds of years.  This is very wise during the hottest part of the day.  Allow your body to relax.  Hopefully you are blessed with a good air conditioning system.

5.       Adjust what you are eating.  Eating heavy foods may tend to make you nauseous.  Opt for salads (such as green salads with cooked chicken or pasta salads with vegetables).  Avoid processed foods.  Now is a good time to enjoy all the wonderful fresh fruit that is available (watermelons, berries, cherries, and peaches).
6.       Rediscover indoor activities, such as reading, crafts, puzzles, games, and art. 

7.       Last, but not least, is to remember your furry pets.  They are suffering as well and need to be monitored for the same issues.

We will make it through the endless summer; we always do.
 
Until next time,
 

Stay well; stay healthy; stay focused.

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