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Summer’s here

By Mark Warde

Two guys are standing at the gas station filling up. One says to the other, “Man, it’s hot.” The other guy nods affirmatively, “It’s humid too,” to which the first guy counters, “Naw, it’s hotter.” The second guy then replies, “Nope, it’s humider.”

After the recent deluge of rain to hit the area, the heat and the humidity seem to have formed a tag-team to deliver some oppressive weather. You almost need a machete to exit your home, and a second shirt to change into when you get to where you’re going.

One of my friends said to me this week, “Yep, summer’s here and it’s not gonna leave until October.”

After living in Ann Arbor, Michigan, since 1995, getting acclimated to sub-tropical heat has made me a firm believer in sweet tea, water and deodorant; not necessarily in that order.

Those who work in these conditions, God bless them. Last week there was a crew on top of one of the buildings in downtown Ennis. They were working on, of all things, air conditioning units all day. How do they breathe? At the end of the day, do they wave a white flag and say they’re done, or simply say they’re “well done?”

Landscapers, roofers, movers, truckers, construction workers, farmers and kids at play must drink a half-cup to one cup of cool water every 15-20 minutes. Those in the elements for longer than an hour in duration would be advised to consume an electrolyte-containing sports drink, just to replace lost nutrients.

A rule of thumb to prevent dehydration is to intake water equal to combined sweat loss. Do not rely on thirst as a measure of need for fluid. A worker may produce 2-3 gallons of sweat over the course of a day. The health dangers, not to mention heat stroke, must prompt us to adjust our work schedule.

In a recent report, Texas A&M Agrilife said “heat can cause a variety of illnesses whose consequences range from minor discomfort to death. They include exhaustion, cramps, fainting, rash, fatigue, and most seriously, heat stroke.

“Heat related illness occurs when normal cooling mechanisms cannot adequately cool the body. Usually, sweat evaporates off the skin, cooling the body. However, when humidity is high, the sweat will not evaporate and the body will not cool. When the body cannot cool, its temperature rises.”

Short but frequent work-rest cycles are the greatest benefit to the worker or athlete. Be certain to provide cool rest areas; shaded or air conditioned with a preferred temperature of 76.

If you are responsible for others who are exerting in the broiling heat, make them take regular breaks for rest and hydration.

Ennis head football Coach Jack Alvarez operates a large scoreboard clock at practice, with a noisy horn going off every 10 to 20 minutes. Cool water, both in bottles and from mobile spigots are delivered by student trainers. It is strategically planned and forced.

While many people crave the summer months, we must keep ourselves, one another, children and the elderly, even pets, properly consuming water. I’m glad it’s finally hot enough to complain about how hot it is.

Walter Winchell once said, “Its a sure sign of summer when the chair gets up when you do.” When you hear statements like, “It’s so hot I saw two trees fighting over a dog,” it must be July or August.

Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it.

While some of our best memories are made in flip-flops, we must remain aware of our body and its rapidly diminishing fluids.

One of my favorite comedians, Steven Wright, a straight-faced wordsmith, once asked us: “If you saw a heat wave, would you wave back?”

If so, make sure your other hand is holding a watery beverage. The fella who invented water sure knew what he was doing.

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Posted by on Jun 24 2016. Filed under Editorials. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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