Keeping Your Cool
Tips for Beating the Record-Breaking Heat
Every day, it seems that a new set of temperature records is toppled by the summer’s sweltering heat. At the same time, news broadcasts are filled with reports of heat-related ailments suffered by folks who didn’t have access to enough water or adequate ventilation.
Don’t let the dog days put a crimp in your travel routine. By learning to avoid heat-related illnesses like heat exhaustion and heat stroke, you can enjoy your RV lifestyle even in the hottest days of summer.
First, some basics facts: heat exhaustion is caused by dehydration and can lead to a potentially fatal heat stroke. During heat stroke, the body loses the ability to cool itself by sweating. The body overheats, putting internal organs in grave danger.
Heat-exhaustion victims are often nauseous, disoriented and suffer from muscle cramps. Heat stroke victims may suffer seizures, fainting and dry, hot skin. You should immediately call 911 if you suspect heat stroke.
Heat disproportionately affects the elderly, but even young, fit campers are at risk of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Obesity, fever, dehydration, heart disease, mental illness, poor circulation, sunburn, and prescription drug and alcohol use also can play a role in whether a person can cool off enough in very hot weather.
Fortunately, outdoor enthusiasts can combat the heat with a little common sense and an awareness of the dangers posed by high temperatures.
Here are a few tips on how RVers can avoid overheating:
1 – Stay in an air-conditioned, indoor location whenever possible. Become a regular at the campground’s clubhouse, or duck into your air-conditioned RV if convenient.
2 – Drink plenty of fluids. The body loses a remarkable amount of liquids from perspiration alone. Drinking nonalcoholic, noncaffeinated liquids will help replenish your body.
3 – Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing and sunscreen. Stay comfortable and avoid sunburns which can compound heat-related illnesses.
4 – Schedule outdoor activities carefully. Outdoor social gatherings are great, but, if possible, keep them in the shade or hold them in the evening.
5 - Be extra careful in humid environments. When the humidity is high, sweat won’t evaporate as quickly, which prevents your body from releasing heat as fast as it may need to.
6 – Pace yourself. Physical exertion can hasten fluid loss and invite heat-related illness.
7 - Take cool showers or baths to cool down. Like coolant in an overheated engine, water goes a long way toward regulating your body’s temperature.
8 – Check on your friends and neighbors in their homes or RVs during extreme heat conditions and have someone do the same for you.
9 - Don’t leave children or pets in vehicles.
10 – Check the local news for health and safety updates. Watch for high-temperature forecasts and plan around that.
For more information, consult the Centers for Disease Control.