It’s hot. Everything can suffer from heat stress and I thought I’d mention a few things to be aware of when the temperature climbs above 90.
Certainly, plants have some quirky things that happen when it’s above ninety degrees, but our bodies have some quirky things that can happen, too, and some of them can be dangerous.
If you’re going to be working outside, pay attention to your body because anyone can suffer a heat related illness and none of them are good. If you’re fortunate enough to have the option, limit your time outdoors to early morning or later in the evening. And by all means, don’t forget to wear sunscreen.
There are three forms of heat illnesses. Heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
Heat cramps usually happen after a hard day of work when you sit down to relax. Water may have been replaced during the day by drinking water, but your body lacks salt and potassium. When you’re working up a sweat, replace the lost water and minerals with an electrolyte drink like Gatorade.
Heat exhaustion is more serious and occurs when you don’t drink enough water to replace what you’re loosing. Symptoms include, headache, heavy sweating, dizziness, fatigue, nausea, tingling in hands or feet, cool moist skin and rapid pulse. Move to a cool location, apply cool, wet cloths and drink water or electrolyte drinks. Lie down, elevate your feet and take it easy for at least a day. Keep drinking water.
Heat Stroke is life threatening and occurs when the body has depleted it’s supply of water and salt and your body temperature rises to unsafe levels and your veins begin collapsing. Symptoms include; a distinct absence of sweating (usually), hot red or flushed skin, difficulty breathing, bizarre behavior and confusion. Heat stroke can sometimes be confused with a heart attack. The person may experience heat cramps and the symptoms of heat exhaustion first, but not always. It’s vital to lower the victim’s body temperature. Pour water on them, fan them, apply ice packs, do whatever you can to lower the body temperature and call 911 immediately.
You can prevent heat related problems with some simple precautions. Drink a lot of liquid and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to get started. Electrolyte drinks are good for replacing both water and minerals. Don’t drink caffeinated drinks or alcohol. Take a break if you feel yourself getting over heated! Running cold water on pulse points will help cool you more quickly.
Heat stress can be a problem in your garden, too. Leaf drop, blossom drop, bitterness in cucumbers and increased insect activity are all things heat stress can cause. Help your plants deal with this hot weather by making sure your water is going deep. Don’t be fooled if the top few inches of soil are wet (or dry), check to see what’s happening down about twelve inches.
For now, drink a tall glass of water, sit in the shade and enjoy your garden.