Scorching summer and heat index: Dos and Don’ts
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Like all Filipinos, we, Cebuanos love our coffee any time of the day. But did you know that drinking diuretics like coffee during extreme heat can lead to dehydration?
As the summer sun beats down, health professionals and meteorologists urged the public to take precautionary measures against the scorching heat. One of them is to stay away from diuretics such as coffee, tea, and soft drinks between noon and the afternoon.
Since the summer or dry season began last March, Cebu has been experiencing heat index with temperatures ranging between 32 to 40 degrees Celsius, which fall under the Extreme Caution Category.
What is heat index and why does it matter?
The Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) defines heat index as ‘the human discomfort index that gives the “apparent” temperature or what persons perceive or feel as the temperature affecting their body.’
The higher the heat index temperatures, the higher the chances for a person to suffer heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion, heat cramps, and heat stroke, all of which can be fatal.
In turn, staying hydrated is key in protecting ourselves from the negative effects of extreme heat, the local weather bureau pointed out. Below are some ways in keeping our health safe amid the scorching, summer heat.
- Stay hydrated: As mentioned in the earlier paragraphs, we have to keep ourselves hydrated if it meant preventing ourselves from suffering dehydration, heat cramps, and heat strokes. This is why it’s always important to drink lots of water.
- Wear the appropriate clothes: During summer, meteorologists recommend wearing light and breathable clothes, like those made from cotton, to allow air to pass through your body, and your sweat to evaporate. They also urged those who want to go outside to also bring protective gear like wide-brim hats and umbrellas.
- Stay under the shade or indoors: As much as possible, stay indoors as prolonged exposure to the heat can be harmful. If you need to go outside, avoid doing so during noon and early afternoon, and make sure to find a shaded area where you can take breaks and re-hydrated yourself.
- Doing strenuous physical activities outside: Avoid intense physical activities at noontime and in the afternoon, otherwise you may suffer heat cramps or heat stroke.
- Consuming diuretics: As mentioned earlier, drinking diuretics like coffee, tea, and soft drinks, especially during noon and the afternoon, can lead to dehydration. Diuretics can deplete body fluids and electrolytes, according to an entry about dehydration and heat stroke from John Hopkins University, which you need to stay hydrated in times of hot and humid weather.
- Going outside at the hottest time of the day: Do not go outside during the hottest hours of the day. In Cebu’s case, these can range from early morning to late afternoon, with noon usually being the hottest time.
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