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Editorial: Don’t get burned this summer

July tends to be the hottest month of the year for the Capital District, and this year that trend is being felt profoundly by every resident. Coupled with a dearth of rain, this summer has already been a brutal affair for many.

That goes doubly for the elderly, infirm and infants. Just like the northeast’s extreme cold forces one to prepare to endure the weather, these dog days of summer can be made a bit more bearable by keeping in mind some tips for beating the heat.

• Drink a lot of fluids (water, not sugary or alcoholic beverages) and don’t wait until you’re desperately thirsty to start. The body cools itself by sweating, and when it’s very hot you can get dehydrated quickly.

• On a related note, be mindful not only of the temperature but also the humidity. When the relative humidity is very high your sweat will not evaporate, which is what actually cools you down.

• On extremely hot days, your city, town or county may designate cooling areas and/or pool facilities for resident use. Public places like malls or libraries are also good places to take advantage of air conditioning if your home doesn’t have A/C.

• If your home doesn’t have air conditioning, be aware fans are not effective at temperatures in the upper 90s and above. A good way to find relief is to take a cold shower, which will lower your body temperature and provide temporary relief. You can also place a shallow bowl full of ice in front of the fan. As the cold water evaporates, it will create a bit of cool air.

• Limit the amount of time you spend outside, and try to stay in the shade when you are out of doors. Never, ever leave any living things, be they human or pet, locked in a car or otherwise unattended on a hot day. Temperatures in a car can reach 140 degrees within an hour on even a relatively hot day, which is enough to kill.

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