Keeping your cool when it’s hot

136608618Extreme heat is tough for us Minnesotans — but we’re not alone, and we’re pretty resourceful when it comes to dealing with extreme temperatures. When those thermometers rise it’s not uncommon for even the hardiest folks lose their cool. Thankfully, there are ways to maintain a comfortable internal temperature AND keep calm, cool, and collected during hot weather.

“Pain or any kind of physical discomfort such as heat takes away from our emotional ability to cope with stress in our lives,” explains chief psychologist,  Dr. Mia Versland. “It makes sense that when temperatures rise causing discomfort, minor stressors that normally wouldn’t bother us  — like a crying child or waiting in traffic —  contribute to feelings of heightened frustration.  This then may lead to maladaptive coping  — for example, arguing about something petty.”

There’s no dispute that staying cool and hydrated are the best ways to cope with the hot weather. In addition to lowering your risk for stress, taking care of yourself during can help you avoid hyperthermia, which can be life-threatening.

Hennepin Healthcare professionals want to remind everyone that the best way to avoid heat-related medical problems is to:

  1. Stay cool – if you don’t have air conditioning in your home, go to a shopping mall, restaurant, library or movie theater to stay cool.
  2. Drink plenty of water (even if you’re not thirsty!).  Avoid drinking alcohol!
  3. Check on elderly friends and family members or those who have health concerns to make sure they are adequately hydrated and cared for.
  4. Avoid heavy exercise – especially during the hottest times of the day.
  5. Seek medical attention if you have these signs of hyperthermia:  confusion, inability to perspire, combativeness, fainting, rapid pulse, flushed skin, delirium.