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Off the Record

Heat busting tips

To avoid an unsightly sunburn or unexpected visit to the emergency room, it may be wise to heed summer safety tips from this veteran lifeguard and self-proclaimed summer enthusiast.

Living in the Yakima Valley is one of the biggest privileges we enjoy when it comes to weather. But too often we tend to forget how to stay healthy when the heat comes on as fast as it did this past week.

Working as a lifeguard for much of my preteen and early adult life, I've seen many suffer from dehydration and heat exhaustion.

Admit it

The first step is admitting it.

One of the main reasons people suffer from severe sunburns, dehydration and heat exhaustion is that they think they don't need extra protection.

Health officials warn us to drink more water, get better rest and vigorously use sunscreen. But many do not heed the advice.

The first thing you have to do is realize that you need extra protection in extreme heat, especially when the heat rages into the 90-degree range.

Lather up

"I don't burn easily," is what many say to get out of lathering on the SPF.

But those same folks are walking funny and unable to sit the next day.

Severe sunburns can cause much more than an uncomfortable evening of sleep. For minimal protection, I recommend a lotion with at least an SPF15 rating for direct sun exposure. Anything less is an illusion of protection that may leave you hurting.

Hydration

Drink, drink, drink; and no, I don't mean an icy margarita.

Hydration is one that many fail to adhere to when the weather is cool, let alone when it heats up.

With the human body being 80 percent water, it's important to make sure we stay watered up.

The best advice is to carry a reusable water bottle. This advice isn't just my eco-crazy side coming out, it's also very practical. When you have a reusable water bottle, you're more prone to refilling it when it's emptied.

Also, drinks with electrolytes are an important addition to the day in warmer weather.

Nutrition

When temperatures get up to 100 degrees, and it will, many tend to not "feel" hungry. To avoid malnutrition, make sure to carry healthy snacks, such as fruits, vegetables and the ever important protein addition.

No excuses, just do it.

Adhering to these few tips may keep area residents safer and healthier this summer. Remember, I don't want to see you rushed to the emergency room because you've passed out at the swimming pool this summer.

Stay cool and safe this summer, and please enjoy the beautiful weather this great valley provides.

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