It is well into the summer months, when the heat index continues to climb, and, health officials advise residents to restrict their exposure outside, particularly in the midday hours and of course, to remain hydrated at all times.
Recently, Dr. Freeman Lockhart, Medical Chief of Staff for the Grand Bahama Health Services (GBHS) pointed out that heat exhaustion is a cause of concern and should by no means be taken lightly.
“I believe the concern among all of us, given the onset of summer, is the heat intensity that we are all experiencing, both inside and outside, in the absence of some kind of cooling device.
“My advice to the public, at large, is that we pretty much need to find ways and means to stay cool and also hydrated. Keep in mind that heat exhaustion is a very real phenomenon. Exposure to heat can mean severe dehydration, which can, in some cases, cause persons to actually collapse. It is very real, and, it is something that we have to keep in mind at all times,” said Dr. Lockhart.
For those who engage in outdoor exercise activities, recommends the early morning or late evening hours.
“Also, for the exercise enthusiasts among us, I would encourage you to probably partake of your exercise in the early morning hours, or in the late evening, when the heat intensity is not so severe.
“If you have any chores to do, outside of any kind of cool space, if you can plan to do it during the morning hours, or during the evening hours, that would be certainly in your best interest.
“Again, I would just like to let everyone know that heat exhaustion is a very real phenomenon, and, so during the course of the day, you need to make every effort to stay hydrated. Pretty much during the midday hours when the heat intensity and the heat index is maximal, you more than likely want to find a cool, shaded area, as opposed to being exposed to direct sunlight,” said Lockhart.
He added that the same rules apply to the elderly, the disabled and the young.They should be limiting their exposure to direct sunlight particularly, during midday hours, as well as ensuring that they remain hydrated at all times.
“With regards to the elderly and the disabled, pretty much the same applies in terms of keeping out of direct sunlight, keeping them cool and keeping them hydrated. Hydration is absolutely key because, even if you are in a cool space, and we have all experienced it, even if you are in a shaded area, you can still lose a lot of fluids.
“Not everyone has access to air-conditioning but certainly, there are various means (to keep cool). In terms of your dress, you want to dress in fabrics and colors that do no attract heat, and, so light-colored clothing and also the materials you wear, (are important). You want to wear materials that are more absorbent, more cotton-type material, as opposed to others that will cause you to sweat a lot.”
Questioned what the recommended daily water intake now stands at, from a medical recommendation, Lockhart had this to say:
“Well, I am sure that all of us would have heard about the eight glasses (eight ounces each). I do not know if you have tried it, but it is a challenge to drink eight glasses of water during the course of the day.
“If you do it, you have to be very cognizant of where you are in proximity to a bathroom. That is the recommended volume of intake, and, if you can get it in, that is certainly to your advantage,” concluded Dr. Lockhart.