Ahh, the dog days of summer. It’s that time of year for fun in the sun: swimming, sports, barbecue and relaxing on the porch with a cold glass of lemonade. Or, if you believe hyperbole of some weather forecasters, it’s a dangerously oppressive heat wave, and you should stay put in your air-conditioned house if you want to survive.
We fall somewhere in between. You can and should enjoy yourself out in the sun. Just be careful, and know your boundaries.
We recently reported cooling stations have opened their doors. Locally, you can find them at The Salvation Army, Missouri River Regional Library, Clarke Senior Center and West Point Senior Center.
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services provides an interactive map showing all official cooling centers in the state at ogi.oa.mo.gov/DHSS/coolingcenter/index.html.
In our recent coverage, we reported The Salvation Army began offering “hot cots” for the first time last summer, allowing people to spend the night on cots without having to meet all the requirements the organization has for typical shelter residents. In 2017, any night when the temperature was still 90 degrees or above at 8 p.m., it opened for overnight stays on the hot cots.
This year, The Salvation Army is allowing folks to come into its dining hall when the temperature reaches 85 degrees. And it allows them to spend the night if the temperature is 85 degrees or higher at 8 p.m.
Here are a few other tips for dealing with the summer sun and heat:
• Hydrate before you go outside, and drink more water than you think you need. Yes, water is best for your body.
• If you’re going to be outside, use sunscreen judiciously, rub it in, apply it regularly and use a pick a brand with an SPF of 50 or so.
• Don’t overdo it. For outdoor work such as lawn mowing, get it done in the morning or evening. If you do it in the middle of the day, listen to your body. If you start to feel weak or dizzy, for instance, those could be serious signs of heat stroke.
• Check on your loved ones and your neighbors, particularly the elderly. Make sure they have air-conditioning, or at least fans, and are doing OK.
Taking a few simple precautions can help you avoid risks while enjoying fun in the sun this summer.