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Tips to Stay Cool and Beat the Heat

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If you haven’t noticed by the high temperatures and overwhelming humidity, summer has made its grand entrance. With these drastically high temperatures, many around are seeking a cool place to unwind.  

However, in 2011, 16-year-old Tyler Davenport was not so lucky. He collapsed and suffered a fatal heatstroke while at football practice at Lamar High School. In response to resulting legislation, AETN produced “108°: Critical Response,” to address the dangers of heat illness in high school sports and bring awareness about heat-related injuries and to help prevent similar tragedies. 

Though heat illness prevention steps are simple, hectic schedules often dictate other priorities. These simple steps could possibly make you more comfortable through out the summer and possibly save your life. 

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Here are some tips to help stay cool and beat the heat:
  • Drink plenty of water, even if you are not thirsty. During the summer you naturally sweat more and you need to replenish the water in your body. Don’t risk getting dehydrated; it can lead to heat exhaustion and possibly death. 
  • Choose loose fitting cotton clothing. Cotton allows for better air circulation. 
  • If you work outside, take frequent breaks. Try to find a shady spot and avoid alcohol and caffeinated drinks because they promote water loss. 
  • Turn off the lights and unplug appliances not in use. Lights produce heat, and believe it or not those unused appliances and gadgets use energy and produce heat, too.  You will also get some much-needed savings on the electric bill.
  • Try to spend the hottest parts of the day at a shopping mall, public library, movie theater or other public space that is cool, if you don’t have air conditioning. When you return home try putting ice in a bowl or shallow pan and placing it in front of a fan to help beat the heat.  Also, adjust your ceiling fan settings so the blades run counter-clockwise.  This will pull the hot air up towards the celling and make the room feel cooler. 
  • NEVER leave children, pets or others alone in closed vehicles. The temperature inside a car can become unbearable within a matter of minutes. Exposure to this type of heat can lead to death. 
  • Remember, heat rises and if you can get to a lower level in a building or at home, it will be cooler.

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In June 2012, the Arkansas legislature passed Act 1214 to promote the health and safety of students in public school athletic activities. The Korey Stringer Institute at the University of Connecticut recommended specific heat illness guidelines and procedures for Arkansas’s public schools. 

"108°: Critical Response" looks at the seriousness of heat illness and its underlying causes, as well as how to treat and prevent heat illness. For more information on these guidelines and additional information regarding heat illness and hydration, visit aetn.org/ programs/108degrees.
Author Will Oldham is an intern and Broadcast Journalism major at the University of Central Arkansas.