ALTHOUGH THE "Dog Days of Summer" are still weeks away, the Ohio Valley finds itself broiling in a heat wave.
While summer is a time of year relished by most, the current 90-degree weather can also bring with it pain and, if not careful, tragedy.
Summer fun can easily turn into tragedy if proper precautions are not taken, by young and old alike.
Over exposure to intense heat, high humidity and draining sun can have a negative and wide-ranging impact on individuals.
Sunburn is one common summer malady. More severe health issues, however, may rear their ugly heads if steps are not taken to avoid them.
Heat exhaustion and heat strokes are also possible. They pose risks to all, but especially to senior citizens, children and people with chronic illnesses.
Early symptoms may creep up innocently, but lightheadedness, feeling weak or nausea may be a harbinger of bigger problems. Avoiding those symptoms may yield serious health concerns.
Dehydration is a major cause of heat exhaustion. Drinking plenty of water and/or sports drinks will help avert problems. It is advised to keep consuming fluids even when not thirsty.
Proper hydration can go a long way to a much healthier summer. It is not the only step to take, however.
Dressing in light-weight, light-colored and loose-fitting clothing is recommended, as well as wearing a hat or using an umbrella to shield the sun's rays.
Other tips are:
Avoid the mid-day heat and do not engage in strenuous outdoor activity during the hottest part of the day (noon to 6 p.m.);
Eat light. Avoid hot, heavy meals and choose foods high in water content, fruits, salads and soups;
Use air conditioning;
Take baths and showers. Water conducts heat away from the body, bathing in tepid water is a good cooling technique.
Cooling centers have been established throughout the area. They offer relief to those who may not have air-conditioned residences.
Summer will be with us for another two months; by utilizing common sense and the aforementioned proper preventative steps, it can be a time of unbridled fun and relaxation rather than pain and sorrow.