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July 27, 2006

Heat Stress
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 03:33 PM * 306 comments

Welcome back to Environmental Emergencies Theatre. In our last thrilling episode we saw Hypothermia.

It’s summertime now, so it’s time to talk about Heat Stress, aka Hyperthermia. Hyperthermia, like her twin sister Hypo, can kill you deader’n dirt by this time tomorrow.

We do best when our core temperature is within one degree either way of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit (37 degrees Celsius). Below that, you’re into hypothermia. Above it, you have hyperthermia.

We generate heat all the time (the fancy name for this is “thermogenesis”) via three basic means. One is thermoregulatory thermogenesis, which is the endocrine system and the central nervous system working together to control the rate of cellular metabolism. The second kind is work-related thermogenesis: when the skeletal muscles contract, they throw off heat as a byproduct. The third kind is diet-related thermogenesis: heat generated by chemical bonds being broken, and complex sugars and proteins being reduced to simpler molecules, as we digest our food.

The name for keeping the interior environment of our body within certain narrow limits (pH, salinity, and so on) is homeostasis. The human body has several systems that are tasked with maintaining our internal temperature. It’s a mammal thing. We regulate our internal temperature by internal means so we don’t have to crawl into cracks or sun ourselves on rocks.

Regardless of the exact origin of the heat in the body, it has to go somewhere, because the body is very heat-sensitive. Even when it’s forty below and we’re wearing our parkas, we still need to bleed off excess heat. All we’re doing is controlling the rate. If the core body temperature hits around 105 degrees Fahrenheit, the proteins in the brain start to denature, and within ten to fifteen minutes … you’re in deep, deep trouble.

Convection is carrying away heat through the motion of a fluid over a surface (the fluid is warmed, expands, rises, and is replaced with cooler fluid). Conduction is carrying away heat through direct contact with a cooler object. Radiation is the direct loss of heat as infrared radiation. And evaporative cooling is using the latent heat of evaporation to cool things — it takes energy to move water from its liquid form to its vapor form at the same temperature.

As the core temperature of the body rises, the hypothalamus (it’s under the thalamus at the base of the brain) senses the rise both directly from the blood that’s moving by it, and remotely from temperatures sensors in the extremities and in the great vessels in the chest. The hypothalamus stops producing the hormones that stimulate cellular metabolism, and instead starts dilating the blood vessels (vasodilation) near the surface of the skin and stimulating perspiration.

The skin grows flushed, and wet. With the vasodilation in the skin and subcutaneous tissues, the skin gets hotter, which leads to more convective cooling and radiant cooling. The sweat evaporates, carrying away heat as liquid turns to vapor. The newly-cooled blood goes back into the core. All’s well.

That’s if things are working right.

The very young and the very old have a harder time dealing with heat stress. They have less-responsive thermoregulating systems, and have a lower tolerance to variations in core temperature. Folks with diabetes may have suffered damage to the parts of the autonomic nervous system that provide feedback to the hypothalamus, and may have nervous system damage that interfers with vasodilation and sweating. Some drugs, notably diuretics, beta blockers, and vasopressors, interfere with vasodilation and sweating. Antihistamines, and some psychotropics, can interfere with the central nervous system’s thermoregulation.

High humidity can interfere with evaporative cooling. High environmental temperatures and lack of ventilation can interfere with convective and radiant cooling. High heat, high humidity, and poor ventilation is the trifecta. Make it an elderly diabetic in a non-air-conditioned apartment where the windows don’t open, and it’s 9-1-1 time.

So, we’re now in the Land of When Things Go Wrong.

First up is heat cramps. The main causes of heat cramps are dehydration and loss of electrolytes (especially sodium). Sweat not only takes water out of the body, it takes out salt. You usually see heat cramps in folks who are working in a hot environment: work-related thermogenesis leading to vasodilation and sweating, leading to dehydration and hyponatremia. Heat cramps usually show up in the extremities (especially legs) and abdomen. This is nature’s way of telling you to stop exercising when it’s that hot out.

What to do about it: get out of the hot environment, stop using your large muscles, drink water, replace electrolytes.

Next up: Heat exhaustion (AKA heat prostration and heat collapse). This is the most common heat-related injury, and its basic mechanism is the same as heat cramps. The basic causes are heat exposure, stress, and fatigue. (It doesn’t have to be particularly hot before heat exhaustion is a possibility — wearing multiple layers of clothing that limit the effectiveness of sweating will do the job just fine. So, if you’re out hiking, take off layers; when you stop to rest, put on layers.)

The signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion are:

  • Dizziness, weakness, fainting, nausea, and headache.
  • Onset while working in a high heat/high humidity/poor ventilation environment and sweating heavily. Infants, the elderly, and the unacclimatized may experience onset at rest.
  • Cold, clammy, skin; ashen pallor.
  • Dry tongue; thirst.
  • Vital signs within normal limits, although the pulse may be rapid and the diastolic blood pressure (that’s the bottom number; the pressure when the heart isn’t contracting) may be low.
  • Normal or slightly elevated body temperature.

What to do about all this: Take off any excessive layers of clothing, particularly around the head and neck. Get out of the hot environment (say, into the back of a nice air-conditioned ambulance). Drink a liter or so of water (slowly, so nausea doesn’t develop). Loosen restrictive clothing, lie down with your feet up, and use a fan for cooling.

Usually the symptoms resolve within a half hour. You should get worried if the symptoms don’t start to resolve, if the core temperature stays elevated or increases, or if the patient starts to lose consciousness. Be very cautious with the very young, the very old, and folks with underlying medical conditions (e.g. diabetes, heart disease).

Heat exhaustion, like heat cramps, is caused by dehydration and loss of electrolytes.

Like heat cramps, heat exhaustion is nature’s way of telling you to slow down.

Now comes the biggie: Heat stroke. This one will kill you, and kill you fast. When your brain is gone it’s game over, and that can take as little as ten to fifteen minutes from onset of symptoms.

In heat stroke your body has essentially given up on cooling. The hypothalamus is saying “See ya later.”

This is the one that kills kids who are locked in cars on sunny days. It kills old folks in poorly ventilated apartments during heat waves. It kills healthy thirty-year-old guys who are working in humid warehouses. It kills.

Most of your heatstroke patients aren’t sweating — the sweating mechanism has been overwhelmed. You may find ‘em with wet skins, though — because the sweat that was there before hasn’t dried off. Wipe ‘em down with a towel — if no new sweat forms, be very suspicious. The patient can be going into heat stroke even if the sweat is still pouring off him. The main thing is the core temperature: 105, 106, higher.

Signs and symptoms:

  • High body temperature.
  • Decreased level of consciousness.
  • Change in behavior.
  • Not sweating in a hot environment.
  • Skin may be red or pale, depending on whether vasodilation has shut down yet.
  • Signs of shock: elevated heart rate and breathing; decreased blood pressure.

Not all of these signs and symptoms will be present in every case.

This one is a medical emergency. You have to act, right now. Your first and biggest objective is to lower the core temperature, and do it by any means available.

  • Move the person out of the hot environment.
  • Set air conditioning to maximum.
  • Remove the patient’s clothing.
  • Put cold packs on neck, armpits, groin.
  • Cover the patient with wet sheets or towels, or spray a mist of water on him.
  • Aggressively fan the patient, even if you can’t dampen the skin.
  • While all this is going on, be on the phone to 9-1-1. Even if you save the brain you may not have saved the kidneys. This person needs to be in a hospital.

One minor caveat: Try not to put the patient into hypothermia. If he starts shivering he’s just going to build body temperature back up.

Death is nature’s way of telling you to slow down.

Prevention, Ounce of

Stay out of high heat/high humidity environments, particularly if you aren’t acclimated to them. Shopping malls, office buildings, movie theaters, are all air conditioned. Try to be in one of them during the heat of the day. Crank your home air conditioning to 70 or lower. If you must be in a high heat/high humidity environment, try to limit your exposure to three hours or less.

But the worst o’ your foes is the sun over’ead:
You must wear your ‘elmet for all that is said:
If ‘e finds you uncovered ‘e’ll knock you down dead,
An’ you’ll die like a fool of a soldier.
Rudyard Kipling

Wearing a hat is the simplest thing you can do if you must be out-of-doors in a heat-stress environment. Without a hat the only things between your brain and a 10,000 degree thermonuclear furnace are a layer of thin bone, a layer of thin scalp, and a (perhaps thinning) layer of hair. Carrying an umbrella or parasol isn’t a bad idea. Wear light-colored, loose-fitting, cotton clothing. Remove layers as necessary to allow sweat to dry on your skin.

A cool neck wrap, to keep the brain cool, can sometimes help (if the humidity is low enough to allow evaporation.

Try to avoid heavy meals (diet-related thermogenesis) and heavy physical labor (work-related thermogenesis) when it’s hot and humid. The siesta is a wonderful idea. So’s having the major meal of the day well after sundown.

Hydration. Water is your friend. How much water? Just like with hypothermia, drink water until your urine is frequent, copious, and clear. Drink water even if you aren’t thirsty. Line up eight to twelve half-liter bottles of water on your desk and drink one of them at the top of every hour.

This brings us to the subject of Water Intoxication. Every year you lose a frat pledge or two from this — being forced to drink large amounts of water over short periods. What happens is the electrolytes get washed out of the body, and Bad Stuff (like cardiac arrythmias) follow. So, drink your water over long periods of time, and keep up your salt intake. Pretzels, potato chips, lemonade, watermelon, bananas … but not salt pills. (Salt pills can rip your stomach and can send you into hypernatremia, which has its own constellation of not-fun signs and symptoms.)

As always, I am not a doctor and can neither diagnose nor prescribe. Nothing here is advice for your particular condition; it is presented for amusement only.

Please stay safe.

Copyright © 2006 by James D. Macdonald.

I am not a physician. I can neither diagnose nor prescribe. This post is presented for entertainment purposes only. Nothing here is meant to be advice for your particular condition or situation.

Creative Commons License
Heat Stress by James D. Macdonald is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

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Comments on Heat Stress:
#1 ::: Edward Oleander ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2006, 03:45 PM:

Jim, I teach classes in heat stress and heat related illnesses for the American Red Cross. Your article is SPOT ON... Everyone needs this info. Print it. Copy it. Distribute it. We all remember the Chicago heat wave a few years back... Thanks for posting this!!!

#2 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2006, 03:53 PM:

If you have a hot water bottle - they can be filled with cold water as well as hot. Or crushed ice with water, which is what I had in the one that was keeping my neck cool on Saturday night, when it was still in the high 30s Celcius in the house in the middle of the night.

#3 ::: protected static ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2006, 04:01 PM:

Jim --

Good post, thanks. I did want to operationalize a definition, though: broadly speaking, what is the bell curve of 'very young'? 'Very old', I think I've got a handle on; as a parent it's the other end of the spectrum that concerns me now ;-)

#4 ::: Jill Smith ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2006, 04:13 PM:

Thanks Jim. I had a nasty run-in with heat exhaustion a couple of years ago at a baseball game. Luckily we were at a modern stadium with a/c in the concourses and I have a husband who knows that ashen and disoriented is a very worrying way for his normally ruddy-cheeked, sharply opinionated wife to be.

#5 ::: Sean Bosker ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2006, 04:17 PM:

I was an Army medic in the California ARNG and my main job was preventing heat casualties. More tips:

1. If you are working in hot conditions and you feel thirsty, it is almost too late. You need to stop working and drink two quarts of water. When it's really hot, your body can't tell you quickly enough that you need water. I've seen guys collapse from heat exhaustion who never felt the least bit thirsty. You need to drink a minimum of 1 quart an hour. A great way to know if you are drinking enough water is that your pee should be clear. If your pee is yellow, drink more water, even if you're not thirsty.

2. Alcohol and sugar are very bad in hot weather. Resist the urge for a cool beer or a soda. Drink water. Alcohol especially speeds dehydration.

3. Sunscreen. Use it, lots of it.

4. History of heat injury. If you've ever suffered from heat exhaustion, you become much more likely to suffer from it again. We never knew why, but once a guy fell out from heat exhaustion, it usually happened again under even less sever circumstances. You become more vulnerable to heat injury after you have suffered heat exhaustion.

5. Salt tablets. They don't work. As Jim said, get your salt by putting it on your food.

#6 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2006, 04:30 PM:

This, like the hypothermia one, is great. There are a couple of typos in it: 'several sytems', 'dryed', 'suspiscious', 'the only things between your brain and a 10,000 degree thermonuclear furnace is' (should be 'are').

Ordinarily I wouldn't inspect something so closely. But when something's this good I just naturally want it to be perfect.

#7 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2006, 04:32 PM:

Re: the hot water bottle with ice in it--
anything chilled applied to parts of the body where there are a lot of blood vessels and not a lot of insulating tissues can help--the best areas are the neck, hands & wrists, and feet & ankles. It doesn't have to be ice--I've used a jar of pickles from the refrigerator in a pinch.

I'd be interested in trained opinions on the tepid (but not frigid) bath as a tool--is the water effectively pulling heat away from the body core as a heat sink, or does it actually promote hypothermia in the long term, with bad effects? (Yes, I know there are a lot of people out there who Aren't Into Baths, or who find the idea of sitting in the tub for long periods a sinful waste of time. This isn't about cleanliness, or about time management--it's about body temperature management.)

#8 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2006, 04:32 PM:

I'm working this week with East St. Tammany Parish Habitat for Humanity. Yesterday, which was particularly hot and sunny, one of our number appears to have suffered heat exhaustion after a long day manually grading a couple lots in Slidell: big pile of sand, shovels, wheelbarrow, and rakes (construction vehicles were unavailable). She spent last night in the hospital and her health is reported to be much improved.

Construction supervisors have been Very Very Good about nagging us about water and rest and sunscreen and shade, but nagging can only remind, not force; and the lady in question decided to go back to work on another site after we were done early with the grading. The supervisors had advised that we knock off early, given the level of sustained physical labor and the extra hot weather. She was the only one who didn't take their advice.

(The rest of us on that crew were OK, so far as I know. I saw most of them at this morning's roundup.)

I'm going to send the link to this article to the volunteer coordinators for future distribution. People need to be reminded that "drink water! pace yourself!" isn't just a nag to be ignored by the macho and willing; it's life-saving advice.

#9 ::: Dan R. ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2006, 04:38 PM:

CBC story about hyponatremia (AKA over-hydration)

In it they mention that its what killed the woman who collapsed in the Boston Marathon in 2002.

They also mention that it's *much* less common than dehydration.

#10 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2006, 04:40 PM:

When I used to volunteer at Burning Man, one of the indicators of dehydration that we found very useful was irritability. If somebody's getting cranky, have them drink water.

My personal rule was that if the other people I was camping with were all ticking me off, I should go sit down for 10 minutes and drink a pint of water (or an Emergen-C, which has electrolites and puts one at less risk of water intoxication).

#11 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2006, 04:41 PM:

Nicole, in situations like yours, one thing I have found that helps get the hard-headed to take sensible precautions is the statement: "If you make yourself sick because you refused to use good sense, people will lose time taking care of you and less work will get done."

Volunteers are often less prudent about these things than people being paid for their work; in some cases, they have less experience with the bad results of overdoing*, and in others, they feel they have a mssion, and mustn't slack.

*Not just the personal results, but the effects of lost time on a project, accidents with severe injuries, and so on.

#12 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2006, 04:41 PM:

Very Young, I think of as toddler and below. Infants more so than toddlers.

The rehydration formulas we've talked about before are good: 40 cc of sugar, 5 cc of salt, in one liter of water.

Keep Gatoraide on hand. If it tastes good, you're dehydrated.

More on rehydration formulas here:

And keep your eye on your buddy. When he's showing signs of heat stress -- you're stressed too.

#13 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2006, 04:49 PM:

James, this is wonderful. I'm very tempted to print off a copy and have it on hand at Mythcon next weekend, where we'll have people coming in to oklahoma who don't normally see 100+ degree weather. Do you mind?

#14 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2006, 04:49 PM:

Fidelio, "having a mission" is the very thing that most endangers the volunteers here: the sense that you'd be shirking a needed duty if you slacked off. We all felt guilty about taking off early yesterday and kept explaining ourselves to each other. My guilty recitation was, "The next job they'd put me on is roofing, and we don't need me up on a roof all uncoordinated from being tired!"

I don't feel guilty about it anymore.

My fellow crew member seemed to be feeling fine when she headed off to the second work site. We all told her "take care of you," but that's really all the situation seemed to warrant at the time (yes, I know you're not telling me off for not having done more, no worries!). Her husband said that symptoms manifested over dinner. That rather indicates that it was already too late before symptoms began to show, and that's scary.

#15 ::: TChem ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2006, 04:50 PM:

"Alcohol and sugar are very bad in hot weather"

The root beer float I had when it was 95 and humid here last week agrees with you. Fortunately there was a well-cooled public space with lots of drinking water nearby, because I could tell I was one step from official Disorientation, which for me is the feeling that I'm observing myself doing whatever I'm doing.

Be careful, all.

#16 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2006, 05:08 PM:

Tepid baths and showers are Good Things. Clearing out the pores to allow more effective sweating, warming and stimulating the skin a bit to promote vasodilation ... what's not to like?

Cold showers that shut down peripherial vasodilation ... not a good idea.

If you find you can't sleep due to the heat, might as well get up and take a tepid shower. You're not sleeping anyway, right? And you'll feel better afterward. Promise.

(Caffeine is another diuretic to avoid during very hot weather. But iced tea is ... well, it's swell. Iced green tea. Yumm! I could use some right now....)

#17 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2006, 05:16 PM:

Nicole, I've seen that a lot--and it's scary how fast we can go from "I feel fine" to "Um, not so much..."; individual tolerances vary so much, and so do individual reactions, which is why self-monitoring is key. Of course, if you haven't had much exposure to opportunities to overheat, it's really easy to miss the signs, or to think you've taken enough precautions, when you haven't. I've learned the hard way with heat exhaustion myself--and have had to snatch myself up by the scruff, figuratively speaking, a time or two.

Good on you for skipping the roof--it's a dangerous place to be when you're already hot. Here in Nashville, roofers in the summer prefer to be at work by 6AM, and to knock off in the early afternoon, for that very reason.

Good luck with the rest of the work!

#18 ::: Martyn Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2006, 05:24 PM:

As a (not so old) diabetic, I drank in every word. Believe me, a hypoglycaemic incident brought on by excessive heat (I've only had 4, and that is 4 too many) is not an experience I'd wish on anyone. Drink. Fans. Listening to what your body is telling you and not being afraid to say 'enough'.

We'd better learn to live with the heat, because it doesn't seem to be going away.

#19 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2006, 05:31 PM:

As always, Mr. Macdonald, thanks.

Many years ago I engaged in heavy-duty physical exercise in high temperatures for some hours and did not adequately hydrate myself. I ended up at the upper border of heat exhaustion. One thing that I found mighty confusing was that I felt cold, not hot. Nor did I feel at all thirsty, though other signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion were clearly present, i.e. nausea, weakness, headache, mild disorientation, cold clammy skin, and elevated body temp. As Jim and Sean said above: it doesn't matter if you feel thirsty or not, you must drink if you want to stay safe. Oh, and this can all happen indoors as well as outdoors. Large numbers of people exercising in an enclosed space when it's hot outside can overwhelm even a good air conditioning system.

#20 ::: Derryl Murphy ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2006, 05:35 PM:

Definitely avoid sodas. As a not-so-bright teen, I was in Japan on a high school band trip, during a major heat wave. Brightly, I drank only Coke for 3 days straight. No surprise I collapsed and had to be hauled off the hospital for some IV fluids and a stern lecture. In Japanese.


#21 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2006, 06:00 PM:

Heat cramps, heat exhaustion, heat stroke, aren't a progression. You can go directly from Feeling Fine to Heat Stroke without getting cramps or feeling thirsty enroute.

#22 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2006, 06:14 PM:

Itís a mammal thing. We regulate our internal temperature by internal means so we donít have to crawl into cracks or sun ourselves on rocks.

Wait... nobody sent me that memo.

Can I crawl out of this crack now?

#23 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2006, 06:21 PM:

I was beset by heat stress while walking around Mt. Auburn Cemetery two weeks ago. I wasn't dressed ideally for the weather -- jeans, black T-shirt, and my hat was a dark blue Red Sox cap, not something sensible and wide-brimmed and light-colored like a Tilley hat. I started to notice tired, aching legs, at which point I told my companion it was time to get out and find some water; we were pretty far in, though, so I'd progressed to dizziness by the time we made it through the gates. I was strongly considering ignoring the rules and turning on one of the gardening taps just to splash my face (which my companion tells me was quite red).

Fortunately there was a supermarket very close by, and they not only had bottled water in the cold case, they had liters of Glaceau Smartwater with electrolytes. I was fairly sure that plain water would make me feel queasy, and so would sugary Gatorade, but Smartwater's not sweetened.

At Pennsic, when I used to go, we used to mix the Gatorade at half strength, on the principle of getting more water into people. The half-Gatorade-half-powdered-iced-tea blend my encampment liked was probably not an ideal hydration fluid, but it made it a lot easier to drink plain cold water after!

Where do red faces fall along the heat stress spectrum?

#24 ::: Marie Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2006, 06:21 PM:

I've managed to teach a few of my friends here (Indiana, having a revoltingly humid summer) that continually wiping the sweat off your body is a Bad Idea -- it puts a temporary halt to evaporative cooling *and* dehydrates you faster. Learning that myself made a big difference in my ability to cope with the heat.

I find myself missing Texas summers. I grew up in Dallas, which on average is *far* less humid than Indiana, even when it's ten or twenty degrees hotter. Give me a hundred plus with low humidity over this eighty-three-and-hundred-percent crap we've been getting.

#25 ::: Edward Oleander ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2006, 06:24 PM:

I'd be interested in trained opinions on the tepid (but not frigid) bath as a tool--is the water effectively pulling heat away from the body core as a heat sink, or does it actually promote hypothermia in the long term, with bad effects? (Yes, I know there are a lot of people out there who Aren't Into Baths, or who find the idea of sitting in the tub for long periods a sinful waste of time. This isn't about cleanliness, or about time management--it's about body temperature management.)

In general water draws heat away from the body 25 times faster than air. This can cause problems if water that is too cold is applied in high quantity. A shower is preferrable to a bath, because the temperature can be regulated faster. If you are feeling the heat, a shower that starts off tepid and v*e*r*y*s*l*o*w*l*y (like over a 15-30 minute period) moves to cold can be very refreshing, and can safely lower core temp. A mist defuser on a garden hose is usually safe to use at whatever temp your outdoor spigot water comes out at. As Jim noted, too much cold water can cause vasoconstriction, but mist (or standing in sprinkler) is generally ok.

Medics in the field would much rather use cold packs at neck, armpit and groin. Only occasionally do we resorted to extreme measures such as a cold water baths or packing in ice. Those are ALWAYS last resorts and should never be tried by anyone without extensive heat training, and specialized monitoring equipment.

Whoever was wondering about what very young might be: At my service we use 24 months as a guideline, but the treatments are still variations on the cold pack. We also include complete body wiping with damp cool washcloths for the wee ones.

#26 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2006, 06:28 PM:

And another thing -- animals get heat exhaustion, too. Dogs, especially, because they have very few built in ways to get rid of body heat, tend to overheat. Very playful, young dogs with clueless owners have been known to chase a ball in the heat until they (the dogs) collapse. I won't talk about other stuff stupid pet-owners do in hot weather, because it pisses me off too much.

#27 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2006, 06:31 PM:

Into which category does "feeling fine except maybe a little tired until I walked into an air-conditioned store at which point I really tried to faint" fall? This happened to me many years ago in a Dallas August, and I've always wondered just exactly what was going on. (I'd just walked about a mile and a half, which was not an unusual distance for me, even at those temperatures.)

#28 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2006, 06:39 PM:

Any skin color other than Normal is a not-good thing. As to whether red is better or worse than pale -- depends. Hot, dry, and red is worse than cold, clammy, and pale. Hot, dry, and pale is worse than cold, clammy, and red.

Red tends to go with vasodilation. Pale tends to go with vasoconstriction. The overall lesson, though, when it comes to body temperature, is that variations are bad. Get out of the stressful environment and see to your hydration.

#29 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2006, 06:40 PM:

From personal experience, you don't have to be doing anything physical to suffer heat exhaustion. I was in sixth grade in a Catholic school in LA, and we were attending services in the church on the last day of school. I started feeling woozy and was told by one of the nuns to go outside. I got as far as the sanctuary rail and passed out, bumping my head on the railing. I woke up in the nurse's office about five minutes later.

#30 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2006, 06:41 PM:

Don't forget pets. Friends of the family lost their dog to the recent heatwave in California.

The dog wasn't doing anything unusual that day, but the 110's instead of 80's-90's was too much.

It went from seeming normal to acting lethargic to starting to bleed- a sign of coagulation failure- in just 2 hours or so.

#31 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2006, 06:49 PM:

Into which category does "feeling fine except maybe a little tired until I walked into an air-conditioned store at which point I really tried to faint" fall?

I'm just guessing here, but -- I'd guess that the large vessels in your legs were pretty well dialated, you were getting a tad dehydrated, and when you stopped moving the blood pooled in the veins in your lower extremities, your blood pressure bottomed out, and until you started vasoconstricting again your body didn't have enough blood to keep your brain fully perfused.

Changing temperatures (from outdoors and exercising to indoors/air-conditioned) may have contributed to environmental stress.

If that ever happens again, lie down and put up your feet.

#32 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2006, 06:59 PM:

Oooooh, pets-in-the*-heat question:

Would having my shaggy dog's pelt shaved off help her cope with what may be a long hot summer?

I've heard two sides to this issue. One is that losing all that insulation helps them cool off. The other is that dog's don't radiate much heat through their skin anyway, and their pelts help insulate them from the heat.

Also: Does washing a dog's feet help them cool off? I know that their pads are one of their radiator spots. Just not sure if washing and wetting would help.

* "the" included so you wouldn't think I was talking about estrous.

#33 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2006, 07:03 PM:

one thing I've learned from camping at Burning Man is that good hydration is a habit, not a feeling. Hydration requires calculation, not thirst.

Because when it's pleasantly warm, but with bone-dry humidity, it doesn't feel like you're sweating.

One alternative-press newspaper there is 'Piss Clear,' named after the common advice in the desert survival guide. If one isn't drinking enough, there are signs. Yet even with the guide and the signs I've seen people have to go in for IV fluids because they didn't *feel* thirsty.

#34 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2006, 07:05 PM:

Red, hot, and filmed with sticky sweat, IIRC. In any case, the liter of Smartwater followed by a nice cool ice cream break at Herrell's and an hour's browse in Newbury Comics' air conditioning did the trick. I didn't pass out, and my legs stopped hurting.

I'm a baker. Fortunately, my current work space is in a nicely air-conditioned basement; I'd be willing to temper chocolate in my workspace, which I wouldn't dare try under less friendly conditions. Two summers ago, I was working in an un-air-conditioned kitchen, within arm's reach of two deck ovens which ran pretty constantly at 375 F, and I went through pitchers and pitchers of iced tea, over enough ice to dilute it further, very lightly sweetened from my stash of lemon sugar -- what I do with lemons that I'm juicing and don't immediately need the zest; a few minutes with the Microplane into a bucket of white sugar makes something that's very useful to have around.

The diuretic properties of the iced tea were probably not the best for me, but it went down SO much easier than plain water.

#35 ::: Edward Oleander ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2006, 07:31 PM:

Into which category does "feeling fine except maybe a little tired until I walked into an air-conditioned store at which point I really tried to faint" fall?

If cooling off makes you feel sick, it means you were starting into the heat stress (exhaustion) zone. It happened to me, despite a gallon of water and Gatorade a couple weekends ago after 10 hours at an outdoor event. I felt no symptoms until getting into my air conditioned car, and then the nausea hit... The immediate treatment is to cool down more slowly... turning down the a/c to a low level brought immediate relief from the nausea.

One note to all: Once you have gone into any heat stressed state, you are MUCH more vulnerable to a repeat episode for the rest of that, and even the next, day... If it hits you and you rehydrate, DON'T go back out into the same activities again that day. Go home, stay cool, drink water/gatorade, get a good nights sleep...

#36 ::: Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2006, 07:35 PM:

It's also quite important for people who're taking medications to realize that they are at a much higher risk, in or above the category of young children and eldery adults. This is especially true for people taking anything that already dehydrates you or gives you a cotton mouth - since you're accustomed to feeling that dry mouth, you are at much greater risk to wave off the signs of heat stress.

"Oh, my medications always make me dizzy..."

"I always have a dry mouth/funny taste, it's no big deal..."

Many medications also thin the skin, making you much more susceptible to sun burn and the effects of the heat. Folks taking chronic medications should be especially vigilant in consuming enough water, and staying in shaded, cool places until the temperature returns to something closer to normal. They should also take it easy with the heavy labour, as again, their body ability to regulate itself is off kilter due to the medicine.

Take it from the girl who's been trying to pack, and spent all of yesterday on the couch remarking on how dumb she can be...

#37 ::: Ellen ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2006, 07:36 PM:

"Shopping malls, office buildings, movie theaters, are all air conditioned. "

Oh, I wish. However, I live in the UK, where it's not always the case for the above places. By the way, I'm a teacher, and I'm on my first week of the summer holidays. (We ended the term on 21 July; we return on 4 September.) I really did think that my school was somewhere in one of Dante's circles of Hell this month (we're in a heat wave over here also!); I just couldn't decide which one!

That said, I appreciate this article! :)

#38 ::: Gilmoure ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2006, 07:43 PM:

Almost 20 years ago, when I was in the Air Force, working on the flight line, I came down with a bit of a stomach flu. One day of hell on earth (why is my body trying to turn it self inside out, from both ends?), another day of rest and then I went back to work. Being sick was over the weekend so no one at work knew anything about it and I was out on a hot flight line in July, wearing dark green long sleeve shirt and pants. I don't remember feeling any warning signs; just that I woke up in the hospital with an IV in each arm and shivering uncontrollably.

If you've been recently ill, you have a greater chance of having a heat/temperature related incident.

#39 ::: Mad Scientist Matt ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2006, 07:45 PM:

Thanks for mentioning that it's not necessarily a progression. I had been working outside this week trying to remove a tree trunk and managed to give myself a pretty bad case of heat exhaustion. But I didn't remember feeling any cramps, just getting to a point where my heart was racing and my stomach felt upset.

#40 ::: BSD ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2006, 07:50 PM:

Keep Gatoraide [sic] on hand. If it tastes good, you're dehydrated.

This is the single best rubric for dehydration I have yet found. Even better, if someone takes a sip of one of the Truly Vile flavors, makes a face, and then chugs the vessel to empty, they were really VERY dehydrated.

Your body knows what it wants. Giving it what it wants is a good way to keep healthy in the short-term.

#41 ::: Marna ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2006, 07:56 PM:

Read, absorbed, drank a glass of water, took one to my husband, came back and linked this. Thank you.

#42 ::: Marna ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2006, 08:22 PM:

Keep Gatorade on hand. If it tastes good, you're dehydrated.

Watch out for the Fun! New! Flavours! You know, the ones that are designed to ALWAYS taste good.

It's not easy to drink enough Gatorade, but it is certainly POSSIBLE.

#43 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2006, 08:25 PM:

There's a stereotype about Californians with bottled water, that it's because tap water isn't good enough (or something dimilar). Most of those bottles are probably filled with tap water. If you have to travel for any distance in hot weather, that bottle comes in handy. If you start feeling warm suddenly, even in an air-conditioned environment, the water bottle is your friend. Drink some; you'll feel better after.

That said, after being out and about for a couple of hours this morning - it's not that hot, only about 90F, but humid! - I had lemonade with lunch. Electrolytes, of a sort. I've also bought mineral water, and had it help. (Like Gatorade, if it tastes good, you needed it.)

#44 ::: Margaret Organ-Kean ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2006, 08:39 PM:

Some tap water in California isn't good enough. I don't have much problem with San Francisco, but San Jose is mildly icky.

Whatever's coming out of the tap in Anaheim isn't water. On our list of things to do upon arrival at Worldcon is buy a case of bottled water.

#45 ::: Anna Feruglio Dal Dan ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2006, 08:44 PM:

Just one word about bottled water: refill 'em bottles. The tap water in many, many places (like London) is quite good, is quite pure, and drinking it doesn't involve producing a plastic bottle, powering a bottling plant, moving the wee little plastic things across continents, selling them vastly overpriced, and then producing millions of non-degradable, difficult to dispose of plastic empties.

I buy the odd bottled water now and then, because I need it, but I always resent it a lot.

#46 ::: Adrian ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2006, 09:00 PM:

Kelly has a good point about some medications making people more vulnerable to heat stress. A person can start taking the medication in winter and think he or she knows the relevent side effects, not even reading the pharmacy warnings when refilling the prescription, but it really is different in summer.

If anyone is using transdermal patches for continuous release of medication, remember that some of them are sensitive to temperature. When skin temperature increases, the active ingredient diffuses out of the patch faster. (A person could overdose that way. In theory, at least.) Some kinds of patch also have problems with adhesive not working after it is exposed to temperature extremes. You have to store the patch at 55-75 degrees F before use...which means a person without access to continuous air conditioning cannot use the medication. Bandage tape is great for helping the patch adhesive stick better, but if the patch can't stick at all by itself, the active ingredient won't transfer and you're wasting your time and tape.

#48 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2006, 09:08 PM:

I've had heat exhaustion twice this month because I've had to be out in the heat for tests prior to the PET scan (which I had yesterday and came home with something very close to more heat exhaustion). Usually I stay home when it's this hot. I've been in today, and only have to go out briefly tomorrow.

#49 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2006, 09:25 PM:

And here I thought the "if Gatorade tastes good, you actually need it" was my own private thing. At the Boston Marathon, course First Aid stations stock quarter strength Gatorade -- full strength is way too strong if you're dehydrated.

ISTR that you can sweat out fluids faster than you can effectively rehydrate orally, so if you get behind in hydration you can be in big trouble.

Hyponatremia is rare, but has been a continuing topic of the Marathon First Aid briefings for the years that I've been volunteering. And I think that I actually saw a case once - she had been running at mile 14, and was on the ground seizing a few hundred feet farther on. She was still seizing when the ambulance finally got to her several minutes later.

Consumer Reports has compared bottled water with tap water, and frequently big-city tap water comes out on top -- I think that New York, Boston, and LA have all been near the top (with a caveat about "last mile" infrastructure making all the difference). The worst water I ever tasted was in a small town in Wyoming. There are some good tasting mineral-waters, but sulfer-water isn't on the list.

#50 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2006, 09:34 PM:

Oh, joy. I read this right after taking my evening dose of a beta blocker. Well, hypertension's not good for you either, even if it's slower than hyperthermia.

My a/c also gave up the ghost last summer. Fortunately I can open up windows on three sides of the house, and the big box fan gets moved around to where it gets me the most effective ventilation. My house also sits into the side of a hill; downstairs is street level at the front and effectively a basement at the rear. It's not useful living space, but I can hang the box fan in the top of the stairwell and pull up somewhat cooler air.

Until a couple of days ago, I was working a temp job collecting petition signatures. Tuesday I was out on a shopping center parking lot, trying to stay in a little patch of shade when not actually talking to people. When the first leg cramp hit I didn't think much of it. When the other leg started cramping too, I realized what was up. Off to a close-by fast food joint for a small order of fries, well salted, a bottle of water, and some sit-down time in air conditioning. Went back to work after about 15 minutes, but was ready to break for the closest cool spot if any further trouble ensued.

#51 ::: claire ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2006, 09:39 PM:

Once again, Mr. Jim, you da man.

On top of all the wonderful advice I would add one more technological wonder that has saved me.

A couple of years back I was complaining bitterly about the New York summer and the hell that is the New York city subway system to my fella.

Two days later a package arrived in my office, containing a Sharper Image cooling unit.

At least for me, this bloody thing works. It is essentially a mini AC unit. You fill the side chambers with water, put it around your neck, and turn on the fan unit. It sends cool air to your jugular...and your body temperature goes down, cooling your blood. I actually feel cooler than the air around me.

The thing originally sold for $100. The latest Sharper Image catalog has it down to $29.

Nope, no global warming. Nothing to see here...and no corporations understanding that they have a product that they can sell to the masses because there is No Global Warming...


#52 ::: FairestCat ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2006, 10:17 PM:

Great post. Thank you.

I'll second the comments about paying attention if you're on medications and particularly mention antibiotics, many of which already come with a warning to avoid too much sun.

Also, thank you for the mention of Water Intoxication. A good friend of mine died of hyponatremia last summer while training to be a DC bike cop. He was so concerned about keeping hydrated and not getting heat exhaustion that he went too far in the other direction.

#53 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2006, 10:22 PM:

Claire's comment reminded me of the useful cooling neck wrap / bandana. The bandana is filled with a polymer which, once soaked, keeps your neck cooled by evaporation. Works well in the desert.

The one I have was handmade- here's instructions on how to make them [2 lbs of polymer for $18 including shipping, makes 100 bandanas at 2 tsp per. Note, this is merely the first search hit and not an endorsement]:

and I'm seeing them for sale as the 'Cobber neck wrap,' or the 'Thermo-cool,' etc. I'll assume many sporting goods stores carry them.

#54 ::: lisajulie ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2006, 10:34 PM:

'nother suggestion to keep one hydrated - vary the flavors of the water.

I find that if I have bottles of _just_plain_water in front of me, I'm likely to shirk them. But if I doctor said bottles (mostly Nalgenes of varios eras) with _something_ to make it taste less, well, watery, I'm more likely to keep hydrated. A blump of lemon-juice concentrate, a blob of cranberry-juice concentrate per liter of water will make the water easier to drink. There are also some Mexican/Central American concentrates (tamarindo?) that perform the same function.

I've also been taught to dilute Gatorade (tm) half and half with water for better electrolyte balance.
OTOH, talk about switchel? proto-gatorade, I tell you...

#55 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2006, 11:41 PM:

Another home-made drink, probably similar to switchel, is the middle-eastern sekanjabin:

2 cups water
6 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups vinegar
a couple of stalks of mint

Boil the sugar and water together until the sugar has dissolved. Add the vinegar and simmer 15 to 20 minutes more. Remove from heat, add mint, and let cool.

Use 3 or 4 tablespoons in a glass with ice and water. (Also this syrup can be used on romaine for a snack or salad.)

(Recipe from Maideh Mazda, In a Persian Kitchen)

#56 ::: Calton Bolick ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2006, 12:04 AM:

If you lived, as I did, in California's Contra Costa County where the tap water was essentially drawn from the Sacramento River Delta, bottled drinking water was essential. In summer, reduced river flow meant saltwater intrusion from San Francisco Bay, giving the water an awful taste. In fact, the local paper used to publish the daily sodium level along with the usual weather statistics.

#57 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2006, 12:14 AM:

LA's tap water doesn't necessarily taste bad - it depends to some extent on where you are, because the sources vary from area to area - but like most of the water in the western US, it's hard. (I've heard water described as so hard you need a cold chisel to get it out of the faucet. This isn't quite that bad, but I won't put it in my electric tea kettle without running it through a filter.)
I do, however, refill my bottled-water bottles from the tap. I suspect a lot of the bottles out there are refilled the same way. Why waste a perfectly good bottle?

#58 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2006, 12:47 AM:

With regard to washing a dog's feet to cool the dog off -- I don't know. Ask a vet. A dog of mine got hyperthermia once: I carried him inside, dumped him into the bathtub, and ran cool -- not cold -- water over him, making sure his head was out of it. He revived completely and was fine. He was a young, strong dog. This weekend my three year old dog (a different dog) was clearly in some distress (lots of panting) from the heat. I did the same thing, essentially -- got him wet with cool water from a hose -- and then took him into the shadiest spot in the back yard to rest. It seemed to work; he was fine in a little while. Both dogs had thick coats, which probably exacerbated their condition; I would think that a thin-coated dog would be less susceptible to heat, though more susceptible to say, sunburn. (Yes, dogs can get sunburned.) But again, I'm not a vet.

#59 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2006, 02:22 AM:

I will here put in a plug for the geothermal heat pump, a slightly higher-tech version of the cool basement and one of the most energy-efficient cooling and dehumidification technologies. I think we're going to be hearing a lot more of it in the future, in places with hot humid summers.

#60 ::: pat greene ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2006, 02:59 AM:

I wish I had seen this a few days ago, when we were in the god-awful heat wave. And air conditioning would be the absence of such, using cold clothes draped in front of the fans helps slightly. Here in Northern California, we're not supposed to *need* air conditioning, heh.

I ended up with heat exhaustion on Election Day in 2004. I was working as a election monitor in Tampa, Florida, and was wearing a black dress (the organizers said "business casual," that was the only thing I had with me that worked), driving around in my mom's unairconditioned car. It was 90 degrees, with close to 90 per cent humidity, and I was spending most of my time outside. I was fine for a while, and then I realized I was getting weak and disoriented. I ended up having to sit in the Mexican restaurant that was the staging area for the monitors for a couple of hours and drink large amounts of lemonade.

I wish that that were the worst thing that had happened on Election Day.

#61 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2006, 05:06 AM:

Great article. Couple of points: as far as I remember, the pulse is another way to distinguish heat exhaustion from heat stroke. Heat exhaustion produces a weak, rapid pulse, as in shock; heat stroke produces what our instructors call "a fast, bounding pulse", ie rapid and vigorous.

And "change in behaviour" can be very dramatic. Aggression is common. The example given is:
"Are you OK?"
"I'm £$%!ing fine. £$%!ing leave me alone." (punches enquirer)
"Right, you have a heat injury. You two, grab him."

#62 ::: Sam Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2006, 06:31 AM:

One effective and low-tech trick for room cooling - especially in the absence of air conditioning, which we hardly ever get at home here in London - is to put a large bowl of cold water in front of your fan. It's not big enough for a proper lake effect, but the difference in the specific heat capacities of water and air means that the water can be sitting there for a day or so (I change it after that, due to dust rather than temperature issues) and still absorb heat from the fan blast going over it. I notice a big difference doing that rather than just sitting under the fan.

#63 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2006, 06:52 AM:

People have mentioned "pee clear", but what nobody has mentioned is that you do need to be peeing. If you aren't having to go to the bathroom at all over say a 4-6 hour period, you aren't hydrated enough for the hot weather.

I've learned over the years that even under normal circumstances I have to be sensitive to my hydration state. Fortunately, my early-warning signal is a headache. If I get one, even a slight one, I go get water immediately.

#64 ::: Meg Thornton ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2006, 06:56 AM:

Ah, something I can comment about (having lived in Australia all my life). First thing to note is that if you're in a humid climate, sweating isn't going to help you cool down, as the moisture on your skin isn't going to evaporate. However, if you live in a hot, dry climate, air conditioning may not be necessary (and may actually dry you out further). Instead, get yourself a standard fan, a plant mister, and an open window. Switch on the fan, mist yourself with the mister, and sit in front of the window.

Oh, and my personal warning sign for when I'm drying out: my eyes start to get dry. This tends to happen to me if I've spent far too long in air conditioning which isn't sufficiently humid without keeping the water levels up. I've had this happen more often to me in the middle of a cold, dry winter, because I don't tend to drink enough water under such circumstances, especially when I'm working in a nice warm airconditioned office.

#65 ::: Thena (still in Maine) ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2006, 07:49 AM:

On the subject of pets, when the mercury starts rising, I put a few ice cubes in the kitties' water dishes. We used to do this for our dogs when I was a kid, especially if they had to be outdoors in a Louisiana summer.

I'm not sure how the cats heat-regulate. It seems to involve a lot of lounging around on the basement floor and nagging me for ice cubes.

#66 ::: inge ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2006, 07:59 AM:

I stay away from Gatorade and other vile-tasting good-for-you drinks -- my subconsciousness is quite effective in making me forget that I need to drink if the only thing available tastes bad, even if I'm already cross-eyed from a dehydration headache. 1/5 fruit juice and 4/5 mineral water usually works fine for me. (But then, I'm a wuss about heat, I shut down when everyone else is still enjoying a "nice warm day".)

When I think of the old wives' tales about drinking in hot weather (or at all) I wonder how many people they got killed. Things like, "Do not drink when it's hot, you'll sweat", or "do not drink before going into town, you'll need to use a public bathroom and they're icky", "do not drink with lunch, it's low class", "do not drink on an upset stomach"...

#67 ::: Eve ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2006, 08:02 AM:

The Cool Ties look great. I've always used the old trick of soaking a bandana in water (dripping, not damp) and tying it on my head. Everyone thought I was mad until they tried it.

#68 ::: rhandir ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2006, 08:29 AM:

"do not drink with lunch, it's low class",
What could the reasoning possibly be here? Could you tell me more about your cultural context where you learned this?

Re: electrolytes
I have it on good authority that most people* tend to do okay with having enough sodium on hand (we like our salt in North America), running out of potassium is also a huge problem in the heat. The symptoms are more noticeable, however - you pass out and fall down instead of getting cramps, etc. This is handy, since the symptom is:
a. hard to miss
b. likely to lead to medical intervention

The technical explanation is that elecrolytes (dissolved sodium, potassium, calcium, chloride, magnesium, etc) are to your nervous system what electrons are to a computer. And that running your brain without the equivalent of electrons = teh reboot.

I am also informed that a single banana has more than the RDA of potassium, and unless you are a heavy exerciser (= bicycling enthusiast) one in the morning will do you just fine.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, this is not medical advice.


*in the United States, for some values of most people

#69 ::: Roy G. Ovrebo ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2006, 08:43 AM:

Excellent article, and very good points.

I work in an aluminium smelter where the air temperature can get well above 60 deg C on a hot summer's day. The rule there is that you and nobody else knows how much heat you can take. Keep hydrated.

One sign of heat exhaustion I've experienced myself is that you may feel you're freezing and actually start to shiver. This is a pretty obvious sign that your body has had enough and the thermostat isn't working anymore. Walk away to somewhere cooler, because nobody wants to have to carry you.

With practise, you know how much you can take, and how much you should take.

Go to within 90% of your limit, and you need a half-hour break to be back to full capacity again.
Go to within 95% of your limit, and you need an hour, maybe two, to be back to full capacity.
Go to a 100%, and you'll just drag yourself out and feel useless the rest of the day.

#70 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2006, 09:02 AM:

As someone who's going to Pennsic in a western PA summer in about a week, let me thank you for this advice. The parts about what to look for I knew, having had heat exhaustion once...and once was enough; now I know what it feels like.

I have this urge to print it out and give copies (properly attributed) to everyone I see at War. :)

#71 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2006, 10:49 AM:

Low electrolytes is also a good excuse for eating fries. (Potatoes have potassium.)

One of the more noticeable signs of low potassium levels is muscle cramps. (Been there, done that, eat lots of bananas as a result.)

#72 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2006, 11:22 AM:

Oh yeah, and there's fog this morning in LA. For a while, we'll have normal weather.

#73 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2006, 11:29 AM:

My trick for sleeping without AC in the hot'n'humid weather is to get my nightshirt soaking wet and point two fans at my body. By morning the shirt is dry and I've had a good night's sleep.

Is there any physical reason this isn't a good idea?

#74 ::: Jp ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2006, 12:17 PM:

"do not drink with lunch, it's low class",
What could the reasoning possibly be here? Could you tell me more about your cultural context where you learned this?

Who needs reasoning? It's a class marker, like which way you turn your fork when you eat peas, or whether you say "pardon?" or "what?", and class markers are self-supporting without external logic.

#75 ::: Emily Cartier ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2006, 01:13 PM:

I wish I had seen this a few days ago, when we were in the god-awful heat wave. And air conditioning would be the absence of such, using cold clothes draped in front of the fans helps slightly. Here in Northern California, we're not supposed to *need* air conditioning, heh.

Y'all are further south than the NE ;). The Pacific Ocean is a good heat regulator, but it's not perfect.

re: electrolytes

I'm really prone to drinking enough water that my electrolyte balance is starting to go the wrong way. If I go with the "pee clear" advice, I'm not getting enough salts (this probably has a lot to do with a hypertensive, diabetic mother and eating minimally processed food... I don't salt my own cooking enough most of the time). I'm best off if I alternate water with tea, lemonade, orange juice or other drinks with Stuff in them. If you're having to pee every hour or more, and the water tastes *really* good... drink something with salts in it. ASAP. Or eat something really salty. Pickles are good. Citrus juices have lots of potassium, which is a happy thing. Jerked meat is good stuff too.

The other trick I like is wear a hat and stick a bag of ice on your head. Note that you do this *before* you go out in the heat, not once you've started to have trouble. Get your bag of ice and hat and sunglasses and put them on before you go out the door.

If it's hot enough that I want a bag of ice for under my hat, I've got a quart container of liquid that goes with me. Everywhere. A half hour or so generally means it's nearing empty. Even if I'm not feeling thirsty when it's empty, it's time to refill. By the time I do want a drink again, I may not be anywhere near a spot to get liquid. Anything less than a quart is too small if I have to be active... a quart generally will last long enough for me to get to a place where I can refill. Try to vary the refills, you're pumping a lot of liquid into your body and you probably aren't eating much as a result.

Lessee. Other thing is if you've got long hair, get it sopping wet before you go out in the heat. Even in very humid areas, that will help keep you a little cooler. Means your body has to heat up all that water. If it's dry air, it works even better. This also lets you monitor the humidity easily, so you can judge how that will affect your heat management.

If you can't get into a tepid shower, run tepid water over your hands and wrists at a sink. Your hands are one of the big radiation surfaces (head and feet are the others), so bringing the temperature down there helps. Washing your feet can be good too.

(no, I've never had more than a red face from heat, and I don't intend to start now.)

#76 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2006, 01:15 PM:

Ajay, good point. Extreme heat makes you think funny. Yet another good reason to keep hydrated and pay attention immediately to early signs of hyperthermia: once it affects you, you may do stupid stuff like thinking that you're fine, and refusing water because you don't feel thirsty.

#77 ::: Mouse ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2006, 01:22 PM:

Great article! Hits home with me.

I work at the Southern California Rennisance faire.

My job? Watergirl.

With the heat climbing into the 105 range at least once a run, we have a lot of problem with heat exaustion. We call it 'going down'(not intended to be crass.)

The issue with us is that we're all in costume. 16th century, heavy, made-for-a-cold-climate costume. In the So. Cal sun, this can be very bad.

Things to keep in mind if you cannot get out of the sun/must wear horrible clothing:

Do NOT wear synthetic clothing if you can help it. I mean it; a cotton/poly blend will put somebody down way faster than a 100% cotton or a linen.

If you're like us and have to wear wool, WEAR it. It is acutaly cooler to be completly covered in a layer of linen and a layer of wool than just the linen. The reason? The sun can't get in. If the sun doesn't penitrate the clothing, then the hottest you can get IN the clothing is 98.6, right? Think of desert wanderers, and their head to toe outfits. It's like your own personal tent.

This is one of the reasons those of us in wool can run around at the fair while the people in the light gauzy things fall down.

Of course, the fact that we are drinking about a gallon of water apiece every hour or so helps. And we have platters of pickels, oranges, watermelon, olives and pretzels out.

Dispite all of our precautions, we occasionally go down. Last time *I* did it (and it was embarassing, as I'm a frekin water girl) I fell asleep in the shade and the damn planet rotated, putting me in the sun. I had taken off my wool overdress, and the sun got right in there. Stupid me. Now, if I sleep, I cover myself with a nice wool blanket. Take that, Mr. Sun!

#78 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2006, 01:46 PM:

The other nice thing about wool is that once it gets soaked with sweat it gets its own evaporative cooling going and can dump a lot of heat.

Natural fibers are definitely the way to go.

#79 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2006, 01:54 PM:

I fell asleep in the shade and the damn planet rotated

The beastly thing! How dare it. I hate when that happens. Give me the dark side of a tidally-locked world anytime.

I never knew that about wool. That's interesting and useful.

Bananas are a good source of potassium, but they have two drawbacks: eating them can cause serious bloodloss in a mosquito-bearing environment, and they have too much sugar and starch.

Which is my problem. I just can't have as much sugar as comes with all this stuff, the cool Appalachian recipes, the Gatorade™, the bananas and so on. Or as much starch as is contained in peanuts or pretzels. I eat salted almonds, which are OK, but what can I do about potassium? When I'm home I eat pickles, but they're not too convenient to carry on a hike, or even around the city.

This is important to me right now, because I'm going to be taking two elderly folks (my parental units) around NYC doing touristy things in a week and a half. I'll carry water and the aforementioned salted almonds, but...

#80 ::: Sharon Mock ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2006, 01:57 PM:

I wish I'd thought of the cool shower trick two weeks ago. (Southern California, no air conditioning.)

#81 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2006, 02:00 PM:

The Army was kind enogh to give me a mild case of hypernitremia, at Basic Training. We were, because of the heat, being made to drink one qt of water per hour, from about 0800, to 1800. After some days of this, I was the victim of the effects.

The worst part of it was the feedback cycle. I felt as though I were starting to enter heat exaustion.

What I've since read/been told, is that much more than about 6 liter of water is more than the system can handle, and that, should one be losing so much water that intake at those levels is warranted, one must up the intake of sodium.

Sidenote, story of grim nature: I got medevacced to Germany when I did (I being a "routine" evac, resulting in my being dependant on an open seat; no rush, and all) because a kid at the base I was stationed on (180 miles SSW of the hospital I was in) dropped in the mid-day sun. It was Heatstroke, which is a priority evac.

There being room on the plane, I was told to grab my kit. It was about forty minutes from getting the word, to being in the air.

As expected, he didn't make it.


#82 ::: Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2006, 02:07 PM:

Dear Mister James McDonald,

thank you very much for your advice in not-dying. I, personally, am a not-dying enthusiast and have been practising it for nearly twenty-six years now. I am hoping for a long and successful career in the field of not-dying, and I am very grateful for every bit of advice.

Long live the internetational (it's kind of like international, but it happens on the... oh, I see, you got it already... I'll be moving on) not-dying movement!

(no but seriously--very good article. If I may exhibit hubris by commenting on the STYLE of your article, as if I were in any position to comment on your style: the mixture of well-researched termini technici (or terminus technicuses? ;P) and very plain and sometimes even funny passages makes this an entertaining read, keeping the reader awake (it's hard to laugh while sleeping) (though I bet not impossible) without downplaying the seriousness of the topic. End of hubris.)

#83 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2006, 02:18 PM:

Mouse: I work that same faire (and have for decades, but I digress). Inside the clothes can get above body temp, the moreso if those clothes are tight-fitted.

One of the things (more common in Agoura, where the temps were much higher, on average) which always amused (for certain values of amused) was that when the temperature went down, to them upper 80s/lower 90s, the customers were fine, the partipants started to go down.

They felt cool, and stopped drinking.


#84 ::: T.W ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2006, 02:20 PM:

Xoper, combine the salted nuts with roasted shelled seeds like pumpkin and sunflower and sesseme. Or find those square german iron ration sassages forgotten the name but like really chewy pepperoni that is safe without refridgeration or a good jerky.
You could just put some pickels in a zip baggie.

#85 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2006, 02:23 PM:

Xopher: Potatoes (though they have starch).

OJ has more potassium than bannanas. It has sugar, but not so much starch. Grapefruit is also (I think) fairly rich in potasium.

Worst case, use the salt substitutes, once in a while, in the cooking of some needful food.


#86 ::: protected static ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2006, 02:43 PM:

A belated thanks, Jim & Edward... Toddler/Infant is what I would have guessed, but I wanted to hear (see?) it from Some Sort Of Authority.

#87 ::: Catja Pafort ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2006, 02:45 PM:

- I found that even in a moderate climate - even when it's freezing cold - making myself drink has noticable effects on my stamina and ability to concentrate. Get into the habit of always having a drink at hand and sipping frequently. Carry water in your car as a matter of course.

- airconditioning to cool down is great, but I find it much harder to cope with temperature differences between moderate heat (up to 35C) and aircon (sometimes set at 25C) than to employ ventilation and extra water, inside and out. Aircon has other disadvantages: many people who could adjust keep in their comfort zone and never try to adopt to outside temperatures, which means, of course, that they are uncomfortable as hell when they do have to go outside, sit in hot cars, and cross large parking lots. Aircon uses up a lot of energy, and a side-effect of lots of people using aircon in cities is that the cities - which are already warmer than surrounding countryside, thanks to lots of stone emanating heat - get even warmer. London just has the second day of aircon-induced localised blackouts...

The city of Freiburg, Germany, in its pedestrianised centre, has a system of very shallow canals (7km) through which water from a local river runs.


I realise that this - like the recommendation only to use air conditioning when and where it's really necessary - is not practical for all climates, but the temperature inside the city centre is on average two or three degrees below that of the next measuring station a quarter of a mile away.

#88 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2006, 02:50 PM:

Xopher -- being a low-carber myself I sympathize -- bananas and dried apricots, great sources of potassium, are bit high-carb for anything but a treat or an emergency for me. I take a potassium vitamin, but I don't trust it. Spinach, other dark leafy greens, zucchini, watermelon, strawberries, broccoli, and mushrooms are lower-carb potassium sources but a bit harder to tuck in your pocket. I wonder if home-dried strawberries, either cut up or pureed to make fruit leather, done with no added sugar or maybe some Splenda, would a) taste okay b)retain enough potassium? Must experiment sometime...Or if you could find apricots dried with no added suger, they are fairly low-carb when fresh. But for just salt, you probably can't beat jerky, and meat does have some potassium. (oh, unless you're vegetarian -- you may have said but I don't remember.)

#89 ::: Sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2006, 02:59 PM:


Tasty variations on the recipe for sekanjabin include: rose, cinnamon, lemon/orange/citrus (handful of candied peel), and rasberry. While they don't have the cooling effects of mint, they're still quite good and give some variety to my gallon containers of syrups. I've got chocolate mint getting happy in my fridge for Pennsic right now, and the rasberry will get made this evening after the temp drops somewhere below 80...

#90 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2006, 03:14 PM:

I can't vouch for the usefulness of this product, but I've been thinking of getting a couple sets of shirts/pants and keeping them handy.

They're for blocking sunlight for people with sensitive skin, but if you were going to be outside where it was hot, I would think this might qualify as portable shade.

I can't figure out what material they're made of. But I'd assume cotton.

#91 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2006, 03:14 PM:

Vegetarian (no sausages), low-carb (no potatoes, no OJ), prone to kidney stones (no spinach), take a statin (no grapefruit).

Pumpkin seeds it is! (I'm allergic to sunflower seeds, and sesame seeds are kind of tiny.)

Thanks everyone!

#92 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2006, 03:16 PM:

Greg, I have the "safari jacket" from there. It's not particularly cool, despite being vented in the back (well, to be fair, the huge backpack I generally carry makes that moot), but it does keep the sun off nicely.

I got their least dorky-looking hat, and it was too dorky-looking for me (me!) to wear. But I do wear the jacket.

#93 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2006, 03:23 PM:

I have OJ with my breakfast each morning - calcium-fortified to boot. Eat bananas, spinach, and broccoli frequently (not together - no, I don't want a recipe for a combination). I'm probably OK for potassium. What I mostly did for the past few weeks, having to be out in the heat, was: a. Stay in shade whenever possible
b. Drink lots of water
c. Wear a hat
d. Have some kind of salty snack every now and then.

Most days we started out in late morning and stopped at some fast food place for lunch before really getting to work. Fast food will give you more salt than you need without putting any extra on the fries. The day I had the leg cramps, we hadn't stopped for lunch.

I figure, even being under treatment for hypertension, while I should watch my salt intake, I still need more in hot weather.

#94 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2006, 03:28 PM:

************* SPOILER WARNING *************

The Island with Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson

************* SPOILER WARNING **************

Gurer V jnf, jngpuvat Gur Vfynaq. Naq urer pbzr bhe ureb naq urebvar, rfpncvat sebz gurve negvsvpvny raivebazrag, nf vaabprag nf Nqnz naq Rir ba gurve svefg qnl va Cnenqvfr ... vagb gur Nevmban qrfreg. Naq zl vafgnag gubhtug jnf, "Gurl'er qrnq."

************* END SPOILER ******************

#95 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2006, 03:32 PM:

If broccoli is high in potassium, I'm fine. I eat broccoli all the time. I like it raw, or slightly steamed, so a Ziploc™ of florets will do me fine.

Anne, do you know if your hypertension is salt-sensitive? An endocrinologist I once knew told me that only one in seven hypertensives has the salt-sensitive kind, though the percentage is higher among African-Americans. (She's the same one who told me that MSG turns into GABA in the brain.)

#96 ::: TW ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2006, 03:49 PM:

The parasole should come back in fasion soon. Nothing like portable shade.

Xopher, beans and flax have far more potassium than pumpkin seeds. How are you for other tree nuts like hazelnut, walnut, pecans, chestnuts. A good roast mix.
Make yourself a custom trail mix of seeds and nuts and the few low carb dry fruits like unsweeten cranberries, blueberries are high potassium only 40calories in a cup of fresh.

#97 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2006, 03:53 PM:

xopher, is it cotton? just curious.

#98 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2006, 04:32 PM:

1. Sesame seeds have potassium? At last, an excuse to eat tahine out of the jar with a spoon! (Kind of like Elayne Boosler's bit where she gets caught eating M&Ms at four in the morning: "I need the zinc!")

2. I am slow. It took me this whole time--what, two days now?--to connect my usual summer sluggishness with dehydration. I leave the a/c on 75 at night, 80 during the day, so I'm more or less acclimated to 106+ heat indices (as acclimated as anybody ever gets, that is). But I usually come home and crash hard for 30 min to an hour. I'm never in need of Gatorade, but I'll give a 50-50 mix of grapefruit juice and fizzy water a try.

#99 ::: Zeynep ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2006, 04:41 PM:

TW: I live near the University of Maryland; we have a great number of international students from all over the globe, and the parasol is definitely in fashion nowadays... usually in the hands of Far Asian students.

Thanks for the review, Mr. MacDonald. And thanks for the potassium-containing food recommendations, everyone.

#100 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2006, 04:50 PM:

Greg, it's nylon and some proprietary synthetic, with polyester mesh in the vents. Washable (gentle), dryable (low), and they specify not to use Woolite, which apparently wrecks the Solumbra™ fabric.

TW, I have a recipe for a lowcarb bread with flaxseed, and another that uses hazelnut flour (which I have). I think pecans are good, and walnuts are only slightly higher in carbs. I need to check into the potassium content of all these and pick the optimal combination for me.

#101 ::: TW ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2006, 05:01 PM:

There are small amounts of all the minerals in nuts and seeds along with the rest of the plant starter package that they are.
Other high potassium stuff is avacados,legumes,kale and other cruiferous(cabbage turnip families) veggies

Damn now I want a linen parasol with nice brush work painted on.

#102 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2006, 05:22 PM:

OK, I eat a ton of Napa cabbage, and I love avocados. I'm good.

#103 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2006, 06:15 PM:

Xopher and all-

There's the USDA nutrient database with the search by nutrient list.

Came in handy when I needed to cook zero (0.00) fat for a week.

Doesn't let you do a joined search, although perhaps someone on the net has made this application. [Starts to poke net with search stick. Net doesn't respond.] Would make a nice mashup with Epicurious. [Too lazy to lazyweb this.]

So, for potassium:
Tomato products, canned, paste (2650 mg/ measure)
Beet greens
Beans, white
Dates, deglet noor,
Milk, canned, condensed, sweetened,
Snacks, trail mix, tropical (993 mg)
Dessert topping, semi solid, frozen (1 mg)
Salt, table (0 mg

#104 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2006, 07:20 PM:

I used to take frequent cold showers when in college, in August, in North Carolina, in a lovely old dorm with huge rooms and no air conditioning.

Have heard that this year, they are renovating and installing central air. I view this as a sad sign of the growing lack of community spirit. In the good old days (that being, oh, four or five years ago) we all congregated in the room of the guy with severe allergies who had a doctor's note for a window AC unit. Kids these days with their internets and central air, they'll never be forced to talk to each other.

Also, since I lost my water bottle, I have been forgetting to drink enough. This is not good as the heat wave is beginning its comeback here.

Plus: Crank your home air conditioning to 70 or lower.

Really? I don't think I can afford that. I've got it set to about 82 right now and it still has to run near-constantly to maintain that temp. If I set it to 70, first of all the house would never actually attain 70, and second of all I would be paying more in electric bills than I am in mortgage....

#105 ::: feonixrift ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2006, 10:17 PM:

If you've got a hard time downing that much water, drink SmartWater (if you can find it) and take a bunch of vitamin C. For me, the vitamin C makes it a *lot* easier to drink straight water and the SmartWater makes sure I don't overdo the lack of electrolytes. I'd also seriously second using the "you must also be peeing" version of the "pee clear" rule.

-- Recovering from the heatwave in SoCal, regretting a decade of anti-water "education"

#106 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2006, 10:41 PM:

Xopher, I don't think I'm salt sensitive. When I was initially diagnosed with high blood pressure, one of the first things the doctor had me do was cut it way back. It seemed to accomplish nothing beyond making me really grouchy and ruining my enjoyment of eggs and potatoes. Once we'd got to the right combination of medications to keep me in the normal range, I let salt creep back in. My BP is still doing fine as long as I take my medicine. I buy low sodium broth to cook with, but I also eat potato chips from time to time.

I don't recall who linked to the switchel recipe, but I may mix some up tomorrow. Sounds tasty.

And I'm not getting ready for Pennsic. Second year in a row I can't afford it, after 17 years when I went. I'd be ready for the heat this year too, dammit.

#107 ::: Tina ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2006, 11:55 PM:

Another quick list of high-potassium foods (also high-other-things foods).

People like me who hate to drink plain water:

Crystal Light. The powder is sweetened with nutrasweet, comes in single-packs as well as two-quart, and most of the flavors are caffeine-free (including a decaffeinated tea).

If you're sensitive to nutrasweet, the bottled Crystal Light is made with Splenda.

Lemonade made with Splenda also works. Also Kool-Aid with Splenda. Home-made iced tea from herbal teas, ditto, and some herbal teas don't need sweetening to taste good.

Adding just a touch of lemon or lime to plain water makes it taste immensely better to me. 'A touch' is probably half a teaspoon of juice or so to about 12-16 ounces of water.

#108 ::: J Austin ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2006, 12:28 AM:

I've always got a parasol in the car, or in my hand--people honk a lot when I'm walking to work. Right now, I'm decorating a tea-dyed paper one to look like it's been henna'd. With Sharpie, because I suck at applying henna.

#109 ::: EClaire ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2006, 06:41 AM:

After growing up near New Orleans (downstream of the chemical plants) and moving to central Illinois (where the water was so hard and so gassy you could light it on fire) I've developed something of an aversion to tap water. I know, I know, water is good for me. But I can't stand the taste. I drink way less than I should, pretty much year round. I try to make up for it with orange juice and apple juice and cranberry juice and... well... you get the picture. It has always seemed indulgent to buy bottled water, because I've heard too often that it's the same thing that comes out of the tap. Never mind that bottled water doesn't make me want to gag.

I'm trying to get over it before my kidneys rebel.

Anyway, just connected the heat and dehydration to how cranky I've been at work this past week. I am used to working in air conditioning, so when the temp rises to 82 degrees inside, due to lovely big windows letting in all the sun, and I've not had anything to drink since lunch, I get a little grumpy. At least now I know, and I can remind myself to get a glass of water and some ice packs when I feel like pulling out my hair.

#110 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2006, 09:12 AM:

Well, I just flew into Chicago last night for the Pitchfork Music Festival in Union Park, which means that I will be spending most of today and tomorrow outside. And there is an extreme heat warning for Chicago (90+ with humidity). So thanks for the heat stress tips - I'll be packing a couple of 2L bottles of water, eating salty foods, keeping an eye out for where the shade is, and will be cognizant of warning signs so I don't end up 'going down'. I'm kind of interested in how the Pitchfork organizers are going to deal with this - heat emergency + eight or so hours of outdoor music might equal a lot of people in the emergency tent.

#111 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2006, 10:59 AM:

I don't really like tap water either. We have a Brita pitcher that we keep filling up from the tap. We used to have an under-sink filter setup, but when we moved, the new sink didn't work with all that--different holes.

I've also recently discovered some bottled water I like--it's otherwise plain filtered water, but has some natural flavor added but no sweeteners. ("O" water, if you want the brand.) The peach flavor is perfect.

#112 ::: Edward Oleander ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2006, 11:30 AM:

Hyponatremia is rare, but has been a continuing topic of the Marathon First Aid briefings for the years that I've been volunteering.

It's not as rare as we used to think. It's hard to distinguish from some other conditions, but there is an easy rule of thumb, which I both teach and practice...

It the water you're drinking isn't providing the same recuperative benefit it did a couple hours ago, it's time for electrolyte replacement. If some gatorade (or similar) doesn't perk you up, then an extensive break is needed. If THAT doesn't perk you up, GO HOME, YOU'RE DONE FOR TODAY...

At my Detox, we try to get the guys to rehydrate after their binges. I always recomend they drink at least one cup of gatorade for every 6-8 cups of water. I recommend more gatorade on days when the food we're serving doesn't have adequate sodium and potassium (which is rare... we serve cheap salt-laden food and lots of potatoes).

#113 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2006, 12:14 PM:

My current 'coping with heat' dose is a combination of evaporated sea salt (450mg/tablet) and Potassium Gluconate (595mg/tablet) taken as one pill of each per 50lbs of body weight, plus at least 8oz water. It's a trick I got from some of the motorcycle racers down near LA, and works like a charm.

Unfortunately the pollution's not nearly as easy to deal with - even taking the highest reasonable dose of allergy drugs that I can, I'm still snuffling and feeling sinus pressure[0]. Ick.

[0] Still - much better than sounding like a bad joke, and feeling like ten thousand dancing angels are trying to tapdance their way out of my head.

#114 ::: inge ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2006, 03:26 PM:

rhandir, re: not drinking at lunch.

I was told it was "low class" when I was a kid, and that fit in somewhat with what I observed: proles and "bohemians" drank (non-alcoholics) with lunch, stout middle class didn't. Though, of course, the number of families where I was invited for lunch as a kid is hardly a statistically useful sample. I remember being told some other reason, later, but I have completely forgotten what it might have been, so I can only guess that I was unconvinced.

I guess I'll do a little next-door sociology and ask around, because now I'm curious.

#115 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2006, 03:30 PM:

inge, I'd observe what people did when they ate out for lunch.

And when I was a kid, woe betide you if you didn't drink your milk with your school lunch.

#116 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2006, 10:21 PM:

Susan, the "wet nightshirt with fans" is recommended for menopausal night sweats, so I think you're okay with that.

Zeynep, I live in Manassas and I see a lot of umbrellas used as parasols. Usually in the hands of Latinos.

As to Gatorade, my body doesn't process water properly in the best of weather, so I have to drink 32oz of Gatorade a day. On hot days when I've been out, I drink two bottles-worth. I've been getting heat rash since I was a kid (I know it's usually infants) so I guess I've been sensitive to heat for a long time.

My big experiment lately deals with that I'm sufficiently dehydrated at night to wake up coughing. I've been using the Propel I keep for when I come in from outside (I have trouble drinking water plain) and the Propel is kind of expensive. Well, it turns out that all the other flavored waters are more expensive. I started trying adding things in with the Crystal Light grains, but I found out I hate aspertame. Next I'm going to try adding some of my cranberry juice (required glass a day) and see how that goes.

#117 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2006, 11:39 PM:

(Risking double post; browser reacted weirdly to previous push of Post button)

I can't stand Gatorade, I really can't. It's so icky sweet, I'm sure it gives me a headache. VitaminWater and FruitWater I like better, but they too need to be alternated with just plain water. SmartWater is great stuff.

The Habitat folks made Gatorade and ice water available all day, which was 7:00 AM to 3:00 PM to avoid the hottest part of the afternoon. I stuck to the water and filled my HFH-issued water bottle about once every 45 minutes. They always had something salty with the lunch they served us--Fritos with the sandwiches, for instance--and they did something else that was just f'ing genius: mid-morning fruit break.

Take a heaping quantity of fruit chunks: grapes, melon, peaches, strawberry. Freeze 'em good. Put 'em in an ice chest without any ice, so they thaw a bit. Serve 'em up around 10:30 AM. They're cold, full of water, and full of electrolytesugarsaltpotassium stuff.

They served that on the Lacombe site where we were assembling frames and positioning them in the foundation trenches. Good good good good stuff.

I absolutely don't wear shorts, and I tend to do the cotton T-shirt and jeans thing, which is good when it comes to sun protection and moisture wicking and stuff. Unfortunately, Friday morning I overslept, so I rolled out of bed and into the car and onto the work site still wearing the particular T-shirt-and-jeans combo from the night before: a nice black WFC06 T-shirt (the one with the great Brom illo) and black jeans. Black. Hot, hot sun. Owie. I know better, really, but I sometimes don't do better.

The folks from the roofing site confirmed that yes, it gets super-hot up there. Somebody gave herself a mild burn on the black tar-paper stuff.

The gal who went to the hospital Wednesday was back on the worksite Friday, participating but taking it easy. Said she was feeling much better.

#118 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2006, 01:52 AM:

Here's one we Hawai'i residents (or at least, this Hawai'i resident) doesn't quite get:

Bottled seawater.

The company doing this (Koyo) sends upwards of 300,000 bottles of this stuff to Japan each day.

#119 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2006, 02:15 AM:

It's desalinated sea water. I suppose that after you've extracted the salt to make Sea Salt tablets and such that you have an awful lot of water left over that you have to do something with.

#120 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2006, 03:25 AM:

We're just terribly amused by it, and possibly a little chagrined that none of our local entrepreneurs thought of it first.

When I lived in Japan I was amazed at the faddishness of that society (Hello Kitty, anyone?), and I remain so. To the Koyo people I'd say "sell it while you can."

#121 ::: Mina W ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2006, 04:52 AM:

Worked outside for 7 years (N. Calif foothills) The polymer-filled neckband/headbands were a life-saver. Rehydrate them with cold water in the morning - but they heat up during the day. Stick in the fridge at lunch - hide in lunch bag from coworkers who think the sweaty thing is icky next to their food. Buy hat sized to fit over it as headband - keeps hat further off head and cooler. Worn as headband, catches sweat running into eyes, and looks less tacky than dripping with sweat. Refridgerate overnight.

Always wore a big hat in summer. Tried out 'wicking' fabrics, mostly not nearly as comfortable as cotton. There's a wash-in finish that makes ordinary cotton tees & shirts more sun-resistant. Find it near dyes in craft stores. Does several, lasts for lots of washes.

We froze half-filled water bottles the night before in the lunchroom freezer. Replace with a new one in the morning, so frozen by lunch. Will keep several refills cool. Lemonade on especially hot days works for me. Advantage of all this was being acclimated.

I remember from Japan long ago, ladies carried a cool wet washrag in a plastic bag in their purses. Useful in that climate with 85F and 100% humidity. I've been doing that this last week. (It's finally cooling off. Amazing how cool the low 90s, high 80s can feel.)

#122 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2006, 06:04 AM:

Extreme heat makes you think funny.

Yes, like not realising that the (plastic, mercifully) bottle of stove fuel shouldn't be placed next to the fire while cooking on the beach. Fortunately, "stop, drop and roll" goes deeper than heat exaustion can reach. I got off lightly with 15% second degree burns from the explosion.

In other words, if the primary effects of the heat don't get you, the secondary ones just might.

#123 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2006, 11:29 AM:

The skin grows flushed, and wet. With the vasodilation in the skin and subcutaneous tissues, the skin gets hotter, which leads to more convective cooling and radiant cooling. The sweat evaporates, carrying away heat as liquid turns to vapor. The newly-cooled blood goes back into the core. Allís well.

This just worked fine for me in mowing my lawn - my face turned purply-red and got warm and I sweated streams of water. When I finished, I peeled off all my clothes and hopped in a cool shower to cool off, then stood in front of a fan while I drank eight ounces of water. I am now merely slightly pink in the cheeks.

Just out of curiosity, why is it only my face that turns colors? And is the deep purply-red color anything to be alarmed about?

#124 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2006, 12:00 PM:

James D. Macdonald: It's desalinated sea water. I suppose that after you've extracted the salt to make Sea Salt tablets and such that you have an awful lot of water left over that you have to do something with.

There may be some regulations regarding the dumping of dihydrogen monoxide.

#125 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2006, 04:22 PM:

Why your head? Dunno. Guessing here -- because "cool the brain" is the first priority of your body, and the head is one of the major radiators.

#126 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2006, 04:51 PM:

lisajulie, thanks for the switchel link. Finally found your comment again. I'm having a glass over ice right now.

It's sweet-tart, gingery; somewhere between ginger ale and sekanjabin. The ginger does settle as a sediment. I shook my quart bottle up before I poured and am swirling my glass as I sip to remix it. I did not add oatmeal.

I'm finding it pleasant and refreshing.

#127 ::: kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2006, 05:22 PM:

An example of flavoring oils for making flavored waters. I keep on contemplating it- even at $80 the savings vs. cases of Propel at Costco could take just a few weeks. (note- I haven't purchased from this company, but the 22 flavors is the largest variety pack I've seen for sale. Has anyone seen more?)

But then again one could go so much further: imagine doughnut water. Deep fried water. Caramel water. Heath bar water.

Unfortunately no one seems to sell savory flavor packs to the public.

Raisin cinnamon water. Butter Pecan water. Tiramisu water.

Because I think it'd be fun to try some El Bulli style experiments with flavor extracts.

Roasted bell pepper water. Caramelized onion water. Potato chip water. Teriyaki water.

#128 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2006, 05:45 PM:

If you don't like the taste of water (filtered or not) try adding mint. I have water in the fridge during the summer with a couple of springs of mint in it. Or add a bag of mint tea to a quart or liter of water. It also tends to calm the stomach, a problem I for one have during weather this hot.

Mint is very easy to grow. It's actually harder to stop it from growing.

#129 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2006, 06:07 PM:

Thanks, Kathryn! I've bookmarked that page.

Magenta, the mint you grow tends to be spearmint which makes me vomit. Just being around someone starting in on a new piece of spearmint gum will make me vomit.

#130 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2006, 06:10 PM:

Ummm. Having tasted Brussels sprout flavored soda pop, I'm thinking there are many many flavors which would not make good flavored waters.

#131 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2006, 06:40 PM:


As said, I haven't bought from them. But when searching for flavoring oils their name pops up quite a bit, and people in low-carb discussions appear to like them.

Very few savory flavors can be bought. I went on a true search some weeks ago, because I needed to cook zero-fat all-clear low-spice (broth, jello, juice) for a week. Cooking up multiple broths wasn't really feasible, because the preparation made the whole house smell too much like real- opaque caloric and complex- foods. Had I been able to cheat on the flavorings, I would have.

Sadly, there is a missing market in flavors for the home cook. It's the 21st century, and I cannot emulate the cooks in Asimov's "Good Taste." See also Ch 5 of "Fast Food Nation" (the flavor wizards of New Jersey).

#132 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2006, 07:31 PM:

"wet nightshirt with fans"



Nope. I better not say it.

#133 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2006, 07:42 PM:

"wet nightshirt with fans"



Nope. I better not say it.

Oh, c'mon, say it.

#134 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2006, 08:21 PM:

Although currently out of stock, Dharma Trading theoretically carries blank parasols in both cotton and silk. They also carry a variety of dyes'n'stuff to unblank them as desired, though on reflection, I'm not quite sure how one would go about setting/rinsing out the dyes after application-- surely they wouldn't fit inside a pot of hot water or a washing machine, would they? OTOH, since they're not waterproofed anyway, perhaps you just paint them, let them dry out, and leave it at that.

#135 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2006, 02:54 AM:

It's being No Fun in Minneapolis, weather-wise, with more to come, according to the Natl. Weather Service:


It's been this way for a number of days already. And now I am going to take yet another cool bath and hope that this one makes sleep possible. Bleah.

Thank you for the heat safety tips.

#136 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2006, 03:41 PM:

I worked for many years hauling hay, and doing construction and demolition, in West Tennessee (near Memphis). In other words, I have lots of experience with how to manage high temperature, high humidity, and strenuous activity at the same time. All the above advice is good. A few more tips:

1)It is much easier to stay properly hydrated if your drinking water is not too cold. It should feel slightly cool, but thatís allóyou will drink much more 60 degree water than you will 40 degree water.

2)Before actual heat exhaustion with its accompanying nausea starts, heat is a very effective appetite suppressant. Make sure to eat enough calories. When I was just beginning to haul hay professionally, I lost 10% of my body weight in 2 weeks; I wasnít hungry, so I didnít eat much. I was tired all the time, but assumed it was from the activity; then one morning I looked down at my chest and realized that I could see my ribs everywhere on my rib cage.

3)If you need salt fast, put a pinch of salt in your mouth and spread it around with your tongueódonít swallow it, but get it all over your gums and cheeks and palate. Avoid swallowing--just stir the salty saliva around your mouth; when you must swallow, swallow only a tiny bit at a time (if it causes nausea, you are swallowing too fast.) The oral tissues are very absorptiveóthatís why chewing tobacco works.

#137 ::: Nancy C ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2006, 04:30 PM:

For parasols, one might also try one's local Chinese/Asian grocery store, if one is lucky enough to have one...

#138 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2006, 04:47 PM:

Another source of flavors for your drinking water: Da Vinci. They've got a wide range of sugared and sugar free syrups. Here's a link Nothing really savory, but there are some sweet-spicy flavors like cinnamon and gingerbread. One of my favorites is toasted marshmallow syrup in coffee.

#139 ::: T.W ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2006, 05:28 PM:

A note regarding pets.
Take 30 seconds too do a walk around your vehicle before driving off to see if any desperate pets are hanging out next to the wheels and the sparse shade you car casts. And leave you furry darlings at home not in the car no matter how big and sad their eyes are.

Always keep a bottle of water(under the seat is probably the coolest location) in the car and a bag of salty snacks in the glove compartment. You just never know when or for how long you are going to get stuck waiting on a road, traffic, acidents, construction.

#140 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2006, 11:58 PM:

Greetings from Brooklyn.

I believe we're having a brownout. We can have either the livingroom AC or Patrick's computer, but not both. I've had to run downstairs with a candle four times to reset the fuse box. Just a few minutes ago the power dipped, then came back on again. I can hear the speed of my electric fan fluctuating.

Tomorrow's predicted temperature, adjusted for humidity and windspeed, will be feels-like 115 F. There's a stagnant air alert. I was wheezing all day, and that was in an air-conditioned office building.

I am apprehensive about the next few days.

#141 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2006, 12:25 AM:

Cripes. Take care of yourselves back there.

You have my permission, the next time some libertarian fanboy defiantly suggests that maybe global warming might be a good thing, to take appropriate measures involving handcuffs, scratchy wool underwear, and a sauna.

#142 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2006, 12:41 AM:

Oh, c'mon, say it.

Well, then, I'll say it.

I dunno about you, but I'm definitely a fan of young ladies in wet nightshirts.



I hereby grant permission to all and some to reprint this article (in whole, with appropriate credit and a link). As a nationally registered and state licensed EMT my goal is to save life and prevent injury.

Please, take care of yourselves.


Let me tell you a little about what inspired me to write this:

I live in a usually cool area. The other day I was called to a scene ... a neighbor noticed that a lady in late middle age was acting funny. The neighbor called 9-1-1. We went. Found a widow lady who had been working in her garden. She hadn't been wearing a hat. On our arrival she was sitting down, knew who she was and where she was, but didn't know what day (or month, or season) it was, or what had happened that day (what she'd been doing, when was the last time she'd eaten anything, whether she'd taken her medicine, and so on). Looking in her medicine cabinet told me she was taking a bunch of drugs for various things, including cardiac. Her face was red, she wasn't sweating, she was hot to the touch, and her mouth was rimmed with dried secretions. Her blood pressure was hovering around 100 over nothing; her pulse was too darned fast.

We took her for a ride, although she was certain there was nothing wrong with her. Enroute I put over a liter of salt water into her intravenously (you'd be surprised how fast I can get water into someone if I need to). Her oral temperature was well over 100, and she kept trying to go to sleep. I had her cold-packed.

On our arrival at the hospital, the nice nurses put a catheter into her bladder. The urinary return looked like thinned-out molasses, and there wasn't much of it.

Ladies and gentlemen, that lady was >>this far<< from being a farkin' DOA. I don't know if she managed to keep her kidneys, or if she's going to spend the rest of her life in the wonderful world of dialysis.

Folks, don't let this happen to you. Your friendly local EMTs are ready and willing to rush to the rescue, but we'd far rather stay home.

(Note: To preserve patient confidentiality certain details in the above account have been altered.)

#143 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2006, 01:01 AM:

Those of you now suffering in this heat wave -- please take care of yourselves. I heard a story today of a man in his 40s, no known cardiac or kidney problems, in his own home in California's Central Valley, temperatures over 100, air conditioning not present or not on, who was found dead.

California dreamin' ... I don't think so.

#144 ::: rhandir ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2006, 09:54 AM:

inge, re: not drinking at lunch.
I guess I'll do a little next-door sociology and ask around, because now I'm curious.
Thanks inge!

Catja Pafort,
The picture of Freiburg's mini canals is excellent! The problem of cities in the US being heat islands (apparently a technical term) is often cited in local climate news. Apparently Chicago is experimenting with rooftop greenery and white gravel/paint/etc to increse albedo. (I think mini canals would be a nice touch aesthetically as well as practically.) Any enviromental engineers/city planner types want to comment?

TW, re: parasol / parasole
The parasole should come back in fasion soon. Nothing like portable shade.
Already has, sort of. Area papers are starting to mention them in the fashion section. Pictures of asian tourists with the nifty paper umbrellas and fans are being run with approving captions.

Caroline, re: airconditioner -ing -ist
If cooling your house below 82 isn't practical, might I suggest getting a (fairly efficient) small window airconditioner, and putting it into the smallest room in your house? Smaller compressor = fewer amps = fewer $$.

Having one space you can retreat to that is substantially cool might be critical in an emergency. An emergency mght be something as mundane as the main A/C breaking on day 2 of 5 of 99+ temperatures. (Plus, the little window aircons can be powered by some portable generators - research/testing is required to verify which models.)

Also, if you haven't had it serviced in some time (2+ years) it might be worth getting it checked - if some amount of the freon has leaked out, it will be substantially less efficient. And you still pay the same amount to run the compressor even if it only has half the gas in it.

Anyone have thoughts on the merits of working shutters (fold-up or fold-to-the-sides) or awnings for keeping the house cooler? Howabout those honking big attic fans that people in the Midwest like?


#145 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2006, 10:18 AM:

I believe we're having a brownout. We can have either the livingroom AC or Patrick's computer, but not both.

oh crap. I'm surpised the whole grid hasn't gone down from everyone running their AC.

I've had to run downstairs with a candle four times to reset the fuse box.

I've got several hand-cranked LED flashlights from Brookstone. No batteries. Those things are freaking amazin. I wish I could find an armorized, waterproof version. The ones I got aren't waterproof, and look to be made of hard, slightly brittle plastic, which worries me with images of dropping the thing during a blackout and shattering it. but still, much better than having several dead-battery-containers in your drawer when the power goes out.

I'm waiting for the day when light switches on the wall are replaced with hand-cranks.

#146 ::: Sean Miller ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2006, 10:30 AM:

I live in Highlands TX which is east of Houston on I-10. It was in the high 90's on Saturday and the humidity must have been near 100%. I experienced Heat Exhaustion while riding my ATV in the river bottoms in Crosby. I thought I was drinking plenty of water but I only drank two bottles out of the four that I took with me. I was out from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. I also washed of in the river several times that day to cool off. I was lucky and felt it coming even though I did not realize what it was. I was back at my truck before it hit me. I was having trouble even getting undressed and almost lost all of my strength. I stripped off my wet clothes and got into the truck with the air on and drank a bottle of water. It took about fifteen minutes before I had the strength to put my dry clothes on and around fifteen more minutes before I felt able to drive off. I got sick and vomited after I got home and laid on the floor under a fan for an hour before I felt normal again. I am a healthy 41 year old man and I had no idea that this could happen to me and feel lucky that I was not still out in the woods when it happened. Every body should be on the alert for this type of thing.

#147 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2006, 10:35 AM:

rhandir said:
The picture of Freiburg's mini canals is excellent! The problem of cities in the US being heat islands (apparently a technical term) is often cited in local climate news. Apparently Chicago is experimenting with rooftop greenery and white gravel/paint/etc to increse albedo. (I think mini canals would be a nice touch aesthetically as well as practically.) Any enviromental engineers/city planner types want to comment?

I seem to recall Gregory Benford mentioning the "increase urban albedo" idea in his nonfiction book Deep Time several years back.[*]

Urban canals would actually decrease albedo (unless they were shallow, with light-colored bottoms that were kept clean); on the other hand, the thermal inertia of the water would moderate temperature swings, and the water itself would provide some evaporative cooling.

From the pictures of Freiburg (and other descriptions, which agree that the canals are tiny), I'm dubious as to how much of an effect they really have there. (The fact that Freiburg is located by a river may be more important in keeping it cool....)

(Not an environmental engineer/city planner; just thinking out loud...)

[*] He also suggested that it would be good to create a trend for wearing light-colored clothing, though he seemed to ignore the inevitable fashion dynamics (if you create a trend for wearing light-colored clothing, then there will be, sooner or later, a counter-trend against it).

#148 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2006, 10:38 AM:

Anyone have thoughts on the merits of working shutters (fold-up or fold-to-the-sides) or awnings for keeping the house cooler? Howabout those honking big attic fans that people in the Midwest like?

Even hanging those vinyl 'bamboo' roll-up shade from the eaves will help. Less direct sunlight hitting walls means it's cooler inside.

Yes, attic fans help too. Keep the windows (mostly) closed during the day and the curtains or blinds closed, then open them at night and run your fan(s) or a/c when the air is cooler. (Better shot at getting the temp down to a tolerable level, plus brownouts during the night aren't as much problem). I got through July and only actually had to run my a/c one day, for about three hours each in the morning and the evening. (No, it wasn't fun. But it was tolerable.)

#149 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2006, 11:21 AM:

Since Jim didn't say it, I will: when he says it's okay to reproduce his article "with appropriate credit and a link", please remember that part of "appropriate credit" is:

Copyright 2006 by James D. Macdonald

#150 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2006, 11:31 AM:

I hereby grant permission to all and some to reprint this article (in whole, with appropriate credit and a link).

To use an already existing license, that sounds like the CreativeCommons-Attribution-NoDerivatives license, with the URL pointing to this thread and a copyright notice being provided for attribution requirements.

#151 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2006, 11:34 AM:

oop. shoot. missed this. Name of author is also provided, so would be part of the attribution requirements.

#152 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2006, 12:21 PM:

Welcome, Sean Miller, and thanks for not getting dead. Good thing you noticed and got back to your truck before the worst of it hit.

John Houghton, thanks for remembering that. It cracked me up all over again, and then I read it to Patrick and it did the same to him.

A status report from Brooklyn:

I got up this morning to find the kitchen lights out of commission, and the readout on the stove blinking "7:05 ... 7:05 ... 7:05" like a zapped VCR. The kitchen circuit had gone down sometime during the night. Then I realized the refrigerator was still humming -- turns out it's on a different circuit -- which was a relief. There's limited shopping in my immediate neighborhood, so we tend to do major stocking-up expeditions to Fairway, and right now my freezer is full.

In a pinch, if the power goes out entirely, the refrigerator will keep stuff cold for a while, and after that I have some styrofoam ice chests. I'll put all the frozen stuff in, packed as closely as I can, then I'll tape down the lid and nest the whole thing in spare pillows and blankets. If that still isn't enough to keep it frozen until the power comes back, I'll fire up the barbecue grill out back and cook the lot of it.

The living room AC's running on "power saver" mode and Patrick's computer is off, so thus far today ... I'm not going to say it. Touch wood.

I really wanted to go in to Tor today -- lots of things to get done -- but I really don't want to:

1. Get stuck in a subway car if the power grid goes down.

2. Get stuck in an elevator, ditto.

3. Have to walk home. I know I did it last time we had a blackout, but the weather wasn't this hot, the air wasn't this foul, and we lived closer in.

I keep thinking things like, "If the power goes down while I'm sitting here with this thing unposted, I'm going to feel really stupid."

#153 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2006, 12:53 PM:

BTW, sometimes a small glitch in your internal heating/cooling can be fixed with icy substances applied to the forehead for a few seconds, and then repeat as necessary. Ice cubes, of course, but full soda cans are frequently easier to come by.

If I have to do a few blocks' walking in this infernal climate, I visualize ice in extreme sensual detail: cubes clinking in a glass, icicles descending from the eaves, glaciers. Temporarily resets the internal thermostat, I don't know how.

#154 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2006, 01:06 PM:


Costco sells two packs of those phaser-like hand-cranked LED flashlights. $19.99.

I'd like to see hanging versions; the 21st century version of a kerosene lantern. When the power goes out, you could crank them up and hang them at strategic points around the domicile.

#155 ::: Zeynep ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2006, 02:03 PM:

Today in DC (well, Andrews AFB), last update an hour ago: 96.8 F in the shade, feels like 106 F (36 C/41 C). The latter expected to rise up to 112. I think this is slightly better than the worst yesterday, but I might be wrong. Because I thought today was supposed to be the last day of this current wave, yet I now see that an excessive heat warning is in effect until tomorrow evening. But, all praises to the weather butterfly, chances of showers and thunderstorms Friday.

Marilee, most the the "parasols" I see around here are light colored umbrellas, too. Some of them have pretty patterns, but I think I've seen what could be called a real parasol, made of probably linen and with decorations on the edges, just once or twice. But hey, whatever does the job.

The central AC in my apartment complex is hanging on, but weakly. I'm not pushing it, and hoping no one else is, either.

Question: I have a white hat, but the fabric is somewhat thin, so I suspect it lets a fair bit of sunlight through. I also have a dark beige baseball cap, thicker fabric. I find myself wondering which one is more effective to keep my head cool?

#156 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2006, 02:37 PM:

Woo, Sean Miller! You had a close call, my friend. We have an acronym: DRT. It stands for Dead Right There. I'm very glad you weren't.

For everyone: just because you aren't thirsty doesn't mean you aren't dehydrated. And heat stress can sneak right up on you. I said that hyperthermia can kill you by this time tomorrow. That isn't the whole of it: hyperthermia can kill in half-an-hour. It's not only sneaky, it can be fast.

#157 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2006, 07:39 PM:

Sean Miller, next time you feel like that, call 911. Don't think you have the necessary means to fix it.

Zeynep, I'd try the beige cap, although you might want a wet bandana under it.

My glasses fogged when I stepped out a step to pick up today's paper.

#158 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2006, 12:51 PM:

Right now Con Ed is reporting the loss of three feeder cables into a large swath of Manhattan bounded by 14th, 40th, the East River, and Fifth Avenue.

Tor is just inside that area, so we're minimizing our power use as much as possible; most of our lights are off, the AC thermostats are set as high as we can stand, and we're turning off absolutely everything not in immediate use. The effect is rather cave-like, I must say...

#159 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2006, 12:56 PM:

I think we're having a brownout, or at least power fluctuations. My AC got to whining and stuttering, so I switched it off to spare compressor, and am now down to an electric fan.

#160 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2006, 01:25 PM:

Water. Salty snacks. Minimize movement.

Everyone at Tor, drink a quart of water right now.

Take care of yourselves.

#161 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2006, 01:45 PM:

I just read a message, on a discussion thread on global warming, that wondered what the fuss was about; warmer temperatures meant a longer growing season so people could grow more food. The poster ended with what I suppose he thought was a rhetorical question, "Where's the bad?"

I answered it.

That was fun.

#162 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2006, 01:50 PM:

Global warming: the black widows will move north and stay around longer. (Side effects they don't want to mention.)

#163 ::: jennie ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2006, 02:02 PM:

Glory be, we had a spectacular thunderstorm last night, and the extreme heat's broken. It's back down to 26 celsius (closer to the low thirties with the humidity). I could ride my bike to work today.

Still drinking at least a cup of water or OJ every half hour or so. I hope those of you still sweltering get some relief soon.

#164 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2006, 02:10 PM:

Stefan, I have a collection of candle lanterns, votive lights, and candlesticks, plus a couple of glowsticks for fast light in an emergency. I know I won't remember to test my flashlight(s) regularly, but it's immediately obvious whether a candle is in working condition.

Some snippets from the news:

Associated Press:

A heat emergency is in place in New York City, as high temperatures grip the east of the United States for a second day. ...

Philadelphia, New York City and Washington DC saw maximum temperatures of 38C (100F) on Wednesday. Similar temperatures are predicted for Thursday after which they will drop to mid-30C. ...

National Weather Service meteorologist Dennis Feltgen said the temperatures were "extremely dangerous". "You can't be outside in that kind of heat without taking precautions," he was quoted as saying by Reuters news agency.

On the New York subway, there was no air conditioning on three carriages of the train passenger Sayed Bukhari took into Manhattan.

"People were crying," he told the Associated Press.

A pregnant woman, attending a Boston Red Sox game, died of heat exposure.

Denise Quickenton, who was seven months pregnant, and her husband were sitting in the bleachers when they tried to escape the heat under the stands. That's when she collapsed.

She delivered the baby at the hospital, then died. ... Paramedics were able to keep her alive until the baby was delivered. It's a boy, weighing in at nearly three pounds.

...By mid-afternoon yesterday, Toronto EMS responded to 26 per cent more calls than usual due to the extreme temperatures. By 3 p.m., only 11 ambulances were free to cover all of Toronto when typically there would be about 70. At one point, dispatch was forced to ask the ambulance bus ó usually reserved for major disasters such as plane crashes ó to start taking calls.

Monday's high of 36C garnered similar statistics. Reports of respiratory problems were up 96 per cent from a typical summer day.

The temperature hit a high in Toronto of 33C (91.4 Fahrenheit) yesterday but it felt more like 44C when the humidity was factored in. ...

"It's busier [today] than yesterday overall," says EMS spokesperson Larry Roberts. "It's surprising, but not surprising. People have probably been fighting the heat for a few days and couldn't take it any more. ... Breathing problems, falls, unconscious or fainting patients and chest pains (are) the main problems."

New Jersey:
PISCATAWAY ó Thousands of fish have perished in New Market Lake in recent days, the apparent result of the heat wave gripping Central Jersey.

Carp, bass, sunfish and catfish carcasses began surfacing and washing to the shore on Saturday, according to residents on Lakeview and Washington avenues.

Township Mayor Brian Wahler said tests completed yesterday indicate that a lack of lake oxygen, attributable to the heat wave, could have led to the massive fish kill.

(That hypothesis has been confirmed by a testing company. Warm water holds less oxygen. About 90% of the fish in the lake have died.)

California and the CDC:

State to study global warming's link to heat-related ailments

Expecting more heat-related deaths and health problems as global warming increases, California public health officials Wednesday announced a new plan to track heat-related fatalities and hospital visits over the next five years.

The $4.5 million study, funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, also will project how increased temperatures from global warming are expected to boosts deaths and illnesses in decades ahead, including asthma emergencies, heat stroke and heart attacks.

It is believed to be the first major statewide study in the nation examining the link between global warming and emergency room visits. The research will be coordinated by the California Department of Health Services, with help from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the California Environmental Protection Agency.

"I think global warming is going to have a very significant health effect," said Paul English, the Department of Health Services' principal environmental health investigator for the study. "We're taking it very seriously," he said. "The recent heat wave caught us unawares with so many deaths."

From July 17 to 29, a heat wave caused as many as 164 deaths in California, according to a survey of county health officers by the Associated Press. Most were people over 65, particularly in the Central Valley, where temperatures exceeded 110 degrees.

The Bay Area also sweltered, with tens of thousands of customers losing power when electrical transformers overheated. San Jose experienced 10 days in a row of temperatures over 90 degrees, an all-time record that taxed hospitals. "We saw an increased volume of people coming in with heat-related problems," said Joy Alexiou, spokeswoman for the Santa Clara County Public Health Department. "The elderly came in, but we also got people in their 30s and 40s.

Emergency 911 calls for ambulances normally total about 250 a day in Santa Clara County, she said. During the heat wave's three hottest days, from July 22 to 24, there were 360 to 380 ambulance calls a day -- a 50 percent increase. Many of the calls were for heat-related ailments. ...

Since 1880, the world's 10 hottest years have all been since 1990, according to the federal National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. And the first six months of 2006 are the hottest on record.

Environmentalists welcomed the new state study.

"People are waking up to the reality of global warming," said Craig Noble, a spokesman for the Natural Resources Defense Council in San Francisco. "This shows a recognition that global-warming consequences aren't something abstract. Heat-related illnesses and deaths are serious problems that need to be addressed."

#165 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2006, 03:11 PM:

Nice list of temperature blowback!

* * *

I lived in the Bay Area during the rolling blackout / Enron fiasco.

One day, as a lark, I bought a box of matchbooks and a big bag of tea candles. I went to work a little early and put a couple of candles and a matchbook on everyone's monitor-top.

Never had to use them. Zone 14 never got hit . . .

I bought another big bag of tea candles, plus a few Dollar Store candle holders. (Little glasses, really.) The match and candles sets are pre-positioned at various points around the house, along with cheap flashlights.

#166 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2006, 03:18 PM:

The effect is rather cave-like, I must say...

But as we all know, you are in a starship.

"Captain, all decks are on emergency power, in a shade of red I find quite homey. Several crewmen are stuck in the holodeck running some kind of Dungeon of Inimitable Whanging progam. As usual."
"Thank you, Mr. Worf. Someday we must put exit lighting in the holodeck. For now, you know where the stationary bicycle is?"
*heavy Klingon sigh* "Of course, sir. Tea will be along shortly."

And to offer something actually useful, there are decent-grade windup flashlights from my favorite jernt therefor here and here. (I believe the "X-Ray Flashlight" is merely colorfully named, and this does not refer to its output, but, well, you can't always tell.) Note that LabSafety's main catalog has something like forty pages' worth of various flashlights, including geek stuff like pocket strobes* and those high-priced units Mulder and Scully waved around in the credit sequence.

*Standard caution: Know your audience before you point a strobe at anybody.

#167 ::: TW ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2006, 04:48 PM:

I had my own risk situation the other day highway driving in a dry canyon. When I can no longer taste the salt on my chips something is out of balance.

#168 ::: Nancy C ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2006, 05:01 PM:

Teresa, we get the weather about a day before you do; I know this because my parents live down in Brooklyn and I keep an eye on it there.

Our heat broke last night, and it looks like yours will tonight.

That site will give the weather from the NWS if you punch in the zip code of where your interested in.

#169 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2006, 05:10 PM:

Mike, those are certainly better-looking than the el cheapo windup flashlight I have.

I think Lab Safety will end up on my bookmark list, even if it is hazardous to my checkbook.

#170 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2006, 05:33 PM:

DC made 101 today, heat index 110.

Teresa, I have something like this in the dining room. The condo is small and I can see the light come on from the bedroom. You might need more.

#171 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2006, 05:44 PM:

Screw the candles. You want one of these.

#172 ::: Sean Miller ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2006, 06:33 PM:

RE: James Macdonald
From James D. Macdonald,
posted on August 2, 2006 02:37 PM:

Woo, Sean Miller! You had a close call, my friend. We have an acronym: DRT. It stands for Dead Right There. I'm very glad you weren't.

For everyone: just because you aren't thirsty doesn't mean you aren't dehydrated. And heat stress can sneak right up on you. I said that hyperthermia can kill you by this time tomorrow. That isn't the whole of it: hyperthermia can kill in half-an-hour. It's not only sneaky, it can be fast.


This is very true. I had all of the symptoms of heat exhaustion (I did not know till the next day what had happened). I was not thirsty. I did not feel overheated. I was sweating alot and was not aware that I had not drank my water. When I looked in my cooler the next day I was suprised that I still had so much water left over. I started back to my truck because I felt fatigue and then I experienced muscle cramps in my neck, leg and middle back, however when I got to my truck I felt fine. I started my truck and turned on the air then I loaded my ATV and tied it down. THEN I started feeling very weak (about fifteen min later). Everything went downhill from there. I went from feeling "OK" to having almost NO strength in just a few minuets. I barely was able to get my clothes off and climb into the backseat of the truck. Thank GOD I had already started it up and had it cooled down inside.

#173 ::: Leslie ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2006, 05:12 PM:

Last summer I had a case of heat exhaustion. It seems that ever since then I cannot tolerate being out in the heat for very long. Does having heat exhaustion once cause problems in the future?

#174 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2006, 07:49 PM:

Leslie, yes, once you've had heat exhaustion you're more likely to get it again.

I was out today briefly to pick up my veggies & fruit CSA and it was 93. Much better than it's been while I've been outside. I'm thinking of making a tart with the gooseberries, if I can stand up that long.

#175 ::: Suzanne ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2006, 01:32 AM:

Jim --

Out of curiosity, do you happen to know if heat exhaustion can have an effect on a person's vision?

#176 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2006, 10:46 PM:

As long as I'm online, I report that I had a sandwich with tomato & basil both picked yesterday for dinner, and then a nice gooseberry tart for supper. Eggplant with tomatoes tomorrow, I hope.

#177 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: August 06, 2006, 06:03 PM:

And indeed, from my CSA share, I had eggplant, onion, garlic, basil, oregano, and green pepper. I used a can of tomatos because I want to save the CSA ones for fresh things and the rice came from the tupperware. mmmmm

#178 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: August 06, 2006, 09:48 PM:

Just wanted to thank you for the advice again, as it came in VERY handy at Warped Tour at Nassau Coliseum yesterday. My best friend, my eleven-year-old daughter and I all shelled out for a $4 bottle of water apiece, and were prepared to do it again if necessary, but NOFX was selling bottles at their tent for a relatively reasonable $2, and then we found the TANKER TRUCK with FREE water for refilling our bottles by Main Stage Left. We all kept relatively hydrated, and I kept soaking my bandana kerchief as well for evaporative cooling. We were there from 10 AM to around 5:30 PM, and when we discovered that the tanker truck had gone dry, we called it a day, although there were still a few bands I would have liked to see. Lemonade and food at Panera afterwards did a good job of perking us up for the drive home. We were probably not hydrated ENOUGH -- we each only hit the porta-potties ONCE in that long day, and then when we went for food after, although none of us stopped sweating -- but we were Not Dead, and got a good day's entertainment despite spending it on an unshaded expanse of black asphalt.

Hurray for good advice!

#179 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 06, 2006, 10:56 PM:

Out of curiosity, do you happen to know if heat exhaustion can have an effect on a person's vision?

It's not on the standard lists of symptoms -- but I wouldn't be surprised. Dehydration leading to low blood pressure leading to greying out ... sure, why not?

#180 ::: T.W ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2006, 12:30 AM:

Out of curiosity, do you happen to know if heat exhaustion can have an effect on a person's vision?

I just found out today that heat and dry makes for blurry vision and thobbing eye twitches. Had to pull over and bury my face in a cold wet cloth to sooth the agony. My eyeballs felt rather sticky, don't know any other way to describe it.

#181 ::: Louisa ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2006, 09:36 PM:

Regarding things to drink, flavored, or with potassium etc, there is a company called Alacer which makes Electromix. I don't really like it, it comes in lemon-lime flavor which I don't prefer, but as an electrolite beverage it's not horrible. The same company makes something called Emer'gen-C which some of you may have heard of. Also, there is a water called Le*Nature's which also has electrolites in it and if you can actually find it, is a lot cheaper than Smartwater. Why did they stop making flavored water, and make that nasty Fruitwater instead? Anyway, no endorsement implied of either of these, and web sites are available for both, neither of which I've been to. Oh, supposedly the Le*Nature's Ice Water comes in at least lemon flavor, but I can't find it here (45 min from NYC), so who knows. Also for those of you with kids, anytime your kid comes home hot and sweaty and cranky from somewhere, a juicebox and 5 minutes sitting down usually helps--even if the child is as old as 8 or 9. Even up to that age they can't tell if they are thirsty, or in the case of mine, are too stubborn to drink something. Best to just hand it to them before they can object. Sorry I go on and on, apparently that's my nature. I hope this helps some of you.

#182 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2006, 12:08 AM:

Here's a brief news article from NPR (via Steve Gilliard's News Blog):

The 100-Degree Club

Synopsis: On his Texas ranch, George Bush has been having staffers run three miles in 100-degree heat... while riding his bicycle to accompany them.

#183 ::: comment spam in Heat Stress ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2006, 11:02 AM:

Markedly snarky, too.

#184 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2006, 11:41 AM:

Zapped. FOAD, spammer.

As always, thanks for spotting that and letting me know.

#185 ::: Stefan Jones sees more polite spam ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2006, 02:51 PM:

On topic, but not the place for adverts.

#186 ::: skot wilson ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2006, 07:04 AM:

IMPORTANT ISSUE! I live in Jacksonville, Florida, and our school board hires contractors for bus services. A new company started this year and bought brand new busses WITHOUT air conditioning. If you look at heat index and human tolerance charts, you can SEE CLEARLY the RISK we subject our kids to daily. There is not only the RISK of heat exposure, but the added school bus violence that is increased by transporting kids in excessive heat/.

I NEED INFORMATION/STUDIES to give to the school board to prove the point. If anyone has any email me at

Simple facts. The heat index can rise to 100-130F very easily in afternoons, and by the time kids are bumped off the bus, the schools have exposed them to dangers from violence and medical risks and once they leave the bus they no longer track what happens, like knocking over a china closet and running out the door before it crashes to the floor. Yes, we didn't have it when we were kids, but in today's world kids sit in a/c all day and on the ride home get exposed to a heat change of 30-40F degrees and are bounced around in that for on average a half hour. Remember also that in our day punching asbestos insulation, smoking and riding without seat belts was okay too.
I have seen the effects of heat exposure, felt them, and there have been a few days when I worked like 10 mins and sat with a hose running over my head and back for the next ten. This summer on vacation had to travel without a/c. and my son threw up twice. There is a serious danger in heat exposure and this site seems to address it really well.


Help be an advocate for kids everywhere. I need studies and documented information to use as proof that the conditions on busses are unsafe for kids, like violence/heat relations, and hope to find a study that directly concerns itself with afternoon school bus heat and the the rise in violence and health risk that can be directly attributed to the heat on the bus ride.

I WANT SCHOOL BUSSES TO HAVE AIR CONDITIONING across the board, as a manditory thing, it only costs about 7 to 9K more to have a school bus made/purchased with a/c, or about a grand a year more over the life of the bus.

Call the Duval County School Board at 904-390-2000 and petition them to protect our kids with a/c. Currently about half the fleet of Laidlaw and First Student have a/c busses, and NONE of the brand new Durham busses do. I am talking about regular busses, ESE (special ed (yaaa!) & needs) busses have a/c. So over half of all busses do not have air.

DO THEY TRANSPORT YOUR KIDS without a/c, in 96F degrees with 120F heat indexes, exposing them to such great risk????

Imput, I need Imput!
If you're a professional, any help is appreciated...
Skot 904-781-9473

stay kuel..........

#187 ::: Kenneth Macauley ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2006, 10:16 PM:

I work in the sun all day everyday, as I own a Lawn Care business here in South Georgia. I drank at least 120 to 140 oz of water and or Gatorade by 1 o'clock in the afternoon. The point is most of the time i still had not been to bathroom to pee.Does your body get toxic by just sweating ? I still fill worn down or worn out. Is there any long term heat related illness?

#188 ::: William Wilson ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2007, 03:56 PM:

thanks helped me alot

#189 ::: Joe McMahon ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 06:04 PM:

An alternative for those who hate Gatorade. It's modelled after something called "Recharge", which is bottled by R. W. Knudsen, and is fine is you are willing to pay health-food-store/Whole Foods prices for it. Plus they've just switched to plastic bottles as well. I think my variation tastes better and I'm quite sure it's cheaper.

16 oz. water (preferably filtered, but tap water will do fine)
8 oz. apple juice
4 oz. white grape juice
4 oz. Concord grape juice
Empty 32-oz bottle[1]

Fill the bottle to the bottom of the patterned glass (about half full - 16 ounces, or 2 cups) with cool (room temp is OK) water[2]. Add apple juice to bring the liquid level up to halfway up the patterned glass at the middle waist (I'm guessing about 8 ounces - 1 cup). Add white grape juice to the top of the patterned glass (where the bottle flares back out again) - about 4 ounces (1/2 cup). Top it up to the mouth of the bottle with the concord grape (4 more ounces or so - another 1/2 cup). Shake and refrigerate.

Tastes a lot better than Gatorade; the juices have a good balance of sodium, potassium, and various sugars without paying a premium for the Knudsen Gatorade clone and without getting stuck with HFCS[3] in regular Gatorade. Since you can buy the component juices at full strength, you can save a lot by mixing this yourself. No point in paying for diluted juice when you can dilute it yourself.

[1] These directions assume you're using a commercial glass juice bottle. I recycle mine for this. I've not measured the exact amounts since I use marks on the bottle for volumes, but I've guesstimated in the directions.)
[2] Hot water will make the juice taste weird.
[3] HFCS = high fructose corn syrup

#190 ::: T2 ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 10:42 PM:

And along the lines of the sad case in Boston, if you are a nursing mother, you need to be extra careful. I'm currently nursing a one month old in South Georgia and just walking from the door to the car is enough to make me symptomatic even though I'm constantly watching my fluid and electrolyte intake.

#191 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 01:45 PM:

#187: Getting back to Kenneth Macauley from last September (sorry I missed your post).

Dude, you are clinically dehydrated. In my opinion you need to increase your fluid and electrolyte intake until you a) start peeing and b) stop feeling tired.

Check with your doctor to make sure you don't have some kind of underlying medical condition that's making you more susceptible to heat, or that heat may be masking.

#192 ::: Meg Thornton ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 05:14 PM:


What you're describing is what I wind up suffering from a lot in summer here. It means your eyes are drying out, and it's a very good indicator that you haven't been drinking enough water for the climate or conditions - I used to get it in winter when I was living in Canbrrra. One trick I've found when that happens is to either have a small bottle of commercial "tears for eyes" eyedrops (whatever the local brand is - over here it's Visine) and use it persistently until your eyes stop hurting[1] or else put warm water around the edges of your eyelids, and onto your eyelashes and keep doing this until your eyes stop feeling itchy. What you're aiming to do is raise the ambient humidity around your eyes, so they stop drying out.

Another trick I've found which works, if you can handle it, is to drink warm water. I don't know whether there's an actual increased effect on hydration levels from it, but it certainly *feels* as though it's being absorbed faster. I'll tend to take hot tap water, but boiling water also works (actually, boiling water helps even more if you can use the steam to re-humidify your eyes a bit - but be sensible. I'll tend to get myself a cup of hot water, and by the time it's cooled down enough to sip, it's cool enough that the steam isn't going to scald me).

[1] For me the best marker for when I've put enough eyedrops in is when I can start to feel them running down the back of my throat.

#193 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 04:17 AM:

Next trick, if you're at a desk for long periods:

Put an electric fan in the kneehole of your desk, blowing on your crotch.

Some huge blood vessels run through there, and you have a lot of surface area to cool. That'll bring down your core temperature nicely even in the absence of air conditioning.

#194 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 10:38 AM:

James D. Macdonald (#193): Some huge blood vessels run through there, and you have a lot of surface area to cool.

Just thinking about the geometry and the 'surface area' issue - I wonder if this is sex-specific advice?

#195 ::: Trip the Space Parasite ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 01:19 PM:

debcha @ #194:

I wouldn't expect so, since a) the complex bits are usually covered by cloth, and b) the major blood vessels are along the inner thighs, not in said bits. But I'm not James, so I could be completely wrong.

#196 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2007, 12:17 PM:

Not sex-specific at all. I'm referring to the location of the femoral arteries, huge blood vessels that run down the inside of the thighs. The legs have a lot of surface area all on their own -- about 36% of the total body area.

Meanwhile, from KCRA:

At least 15 small children have died so far this year nationwide after being left in hot vehicles, according to a study published in Pediatrics, the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics and updated July 12. Last year, 29 children died, and 42 died in 2005, the study said.

This is anent a tragic story of a child left in a car.

#197 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2007, 07:04 PM:

Devices exist to keep kids from dying in cars, but few are sold

(AP) -- Your car has a sensor that tells you when you've left the headlights on or the keys in the ignition. It probably has another reminding you and your passengers to buckle your seat belts, and still another that sounds when the door is ajar. Some cars even to tell you when the tires need inflating.

But so far, there's no standard equipment to tell you that you've left a child in the back seat of a hot car.

"How many people died because their keys were left in the ignition, headlights left on?" asks Janette Fennell, who tracks hot-car deaths as president and founder of Kids and Cars. "They have the opportunity to eradicate this as a cause of injury and death to children for a relatively low cost. Why not do it?"

"The issue is not the technology; the issue is getting it to market," says Jan Null, a San Francisco-area meteorologist who also tracks child hot-car deaths.


#198 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2007, 10:34 AM:

Heat wave has killed 49

Authorities in Memphis and Alabama report 10 more heat-related deaths, bringing the toll in the Southeast and Midwest to at least 49 since oppressive triple-digit temperatures settled over the region last week.


Last summer, a heat wave killed at least 50 people in the Midwest and East. California officially reported a death toll of 143, but authorities last month acknowledged the number may have been far higher. A 1995 heat wave in Chicago was blamed for 700 deaths.

#199 ::: P. Bond ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2007, 10:22 PM:

Don't forget that animals are also susceptible to heat stroke! My 13-yr. old son didn't take me seriously and took our two labs our for a run behind his 4-wheeler when the temp. was approx. 94 degrees, with fairly high humidity. Before they made it around the 2nd block, they both collapsed. Unable to summon help quickly (he thought they were just tired), we lost one of them. (They were treated after approx. 2.4 hours) The other one just got out of the hosp. (an $1800 doctor bill!) and is very weak, on 5 medications, and has a leaking bladder. But it hasn't even been a week yet, so we're hoping he'll get better. We have to keep him indoors in AC until the outside temps. cool down. It could take him up to a year to heal. And I understand he could suffer permanent damage.

#200 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2007, 09:32 PM:

Runner dies, 300 treated as heat ravages Chicago Marathon

CHICAGO, Illinois (AP) -- Organizers shut down the course four hours after the start of Sunday's Chicago Marathon because of 88-degree heat and sweltering humidity that left one runner dead and sent at least 49 to area hospitals. Another 250 were treated at the site.
#201 ::: Carol Maltby ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2008, 05:58 PM:

If you don't have air conditioning and want to spend the day somewhere that does, you may want to check out a few different places to see which one has the best temperature.

It used to be that our local mall was a welcome respite from the heat. But in the past year or so they've been raising the temperature high enough during heat waves that I've sometimes found myself sweating inside the mall just walking.

Does anyone have any recommendations of websites that thoroughly compare the various methods of dealing with window coverings, both for summer and winter conditions? I'd like to know about things I could make myself, rather than laying out hundreds of dollars.

Is there any rule of thumb for dealing with expensive medications that need refrigeration, especially if the power is out for a few days?

#202 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2008, 11:28 PM:

#201: Carol, I've read about food coolers, intended for use in the third world, that use evaporation. I recall they used nested ceramic pots, some of which seeped water.

Such a thing might help keep medication cool, but not chilled. Perhaps enough time for the lights to get on, or obtain ice.

Sounds like something MAKE magazine should tackle.

#204 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2008, 04:45 PM:

I don't know how it feels elsewhere in the state, but here in San Pablo CA it feels pretty moderate. Not too hot, slight breeze -- air's a bit muggy but it's not intolerable in my opinion. I guess the next three days are supposed to be much worse.

#205 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2008, 05:02 PM:

I suspect what they're mostly worried about is the added load on the power grid, when a lot of people start running their AC set at 72-75F. The grid's not in good shape.

#207 ::: Janet ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2008, 08:09 AM:

And yet another sad story of a toddler left in a car by a forgetful parent, as reported in the Washington Post: Father Indicted in Toddler's Death in Hot SUV

#208 ::: Tom ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 09:39 PM:

I understand that you're more vulnerable to heat exhaustion once you've suffered an episode, and I'd like to know: is it possible to restore one's tolerance? Until very recently, I used to love playing basketball as hard as I could in the hot sun, but after a scary dizzy spell last week, I find myself unable to go very hard without feeling weird again. It's frustrating and, frankly, depressing. Thanks for any feedback!

#209 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 09:54 PM:

I don't know that answer, Tom. I'd suspect, though, for right now you should treat your heat injury as you'd treat any other injury -- take it easy until you've had some time to heal.

#210 ::: Tae Kim ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 03:29 PM:

There are some articles in the literature which suggest that once you suffer a heat illness, you are more prone to other episodes.

I'd recover as Jim suggest, and reintroduce yourself to exercise in a gradual, well-hydrated way.

Acclimation is key.

#211 ::: alan ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2008, 01:45 PM:

I had heat exhaustion that caused acute kidney failure on july 28,2008.In hospital for 4 days.I work outside in florida,doing heavy exertion for 9hrs/day,the past 11yrs.Dr. says go back to work,i go back on august 4,2008,same symptons happen again.TOOK the next 2 weeks off,went back to work same thing happened again,muscle cramps,fatigue,like heat exhaustion all over.TRIED going back to work 4 times and finally aug.28th had acute renal failure again.DO I HAVE A BODY TEMP PROBLEM SINCE THE FIRST EPISODE.The dr's are puzzled.THIS is my job and still off work.i need advice,it happens under extreme heat and exertion.

#212 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2008, 02:54 PM:

Alan: If the doctors are puzzled I am too.

My best suggestion is to get a second, third, or however-many opinion until you find a doctor who can figure it out and explain it to you. Make him/her explain it until you fully understand.

Renal failure is nothing to mess with. People die from that. Please take this seriously: Your body is trying to tell you something.

It's possible that you may need to find a new line of work.

#213 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2008, 03:17 PM:

I think the best advice we can give you is to have you escalate the problem with your Doctors. You're at the point where specialists need to get involved -- not just on the renal failure, but on what may have caused the problem to begin with. Your body has been handling that amount of heat stress for years, what made July 28th different?

You must, even though it means loss-of-income, keep from getting anywhere even close to being heat-stressed, you can't afford to damage your kidneys anymore.

You're having a tough time, I know, hang in there.

#214 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2008, 03:25 PM:

Alan, the first thing you need to do is stay hydrated. Here's a formula:

8 tablespoons of sugar
1 teaspoon of salt (and no more!)
1 quart of water.
Mix it together. Drink one entire quart of the mixture per hour, even if you don't feel thirsty.

2. Are you taking any new drugs? Beta blockers, diuretics, vasopressors, and antihistamines all interfere with the body's ability to shed heat.

3. Find the line in Tae Kim's comment, #210, that says, "There are some articles in the literature which suggest that once you suffer a heat illness, you are more prone to other episodes." Copy that line. Show it to your doctor.

4. You know the chewable aspirin for children? Take one of those every morning. (Everyone should take one of those every morning.)

5. Have your blood pressure checked. If you can find a way to get it checked regularly without having to go to a doctor, do so. Keep a record of what it was on what day.

If you've been doing heavy outdoor work for eleven years, I expect you already know about wearing a hat in hot weather.

Let us know how you're doing.

#215 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2008, 03:26 PM:

Also, take Jim Macdonald's and John Houghton's advice. They both know a lot.

#216 ::: alan ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2008, 05:15 PM:

I started lisinopril 20mg, Jan 2008 for BP.Then July 28th came...after the hospital,cut lisinopril in half...went to dr like 4different times because i couldn't finish my job and told him my symptons,one was lower chest discomfort...your stressed out and put me on atenolol...go back to work..finally dr took blood and next day he called and said your right...GO TO ER ASAP...renal released in 2 days,stop lisinopril,take atenolol only.Kidney dr says i'm fine,my family dr says the same.We don't know whats causing inside with less heat and humidity.kind of hard when you been at your job 20yrs.Basically,6days in hospital...IV..OK your good to go i went to the MAYO CLINIC ...DR.says my 2 episodes of acute renal failure were precipitated by extreme heat and humidity,leading to dehydration.The state of dehydration was compounded by the ACE inhibitor leading to acute kidney failure.No evidence of any systemic illness that could lead to acute renal failure.said i was lucky to have recovered from both episodes.He advised me that the best situation would be to have a different work situation.Repeated episodes could result in permanent loss of kidney function or continue my position at work, but not be placed on any ACE inhibitor or ARB agent that would put me at increased risk of having again acute renal failure if i become dehydrated again.I drove all the way to the MAYO CLINIC to have my blood drawn,and t/w the DR FOR like an hour.Your good to go,kidneys are fine.I been stressing to these Dr's it happens in heavy exertion ,heavy lifting,exteme heat.EVER since July 28th.Am i going to the wrong Dr..I'ts pretty mysterious when you or the DR/ don't really know.Could my body have suffered something from JULY 28TH,THAT I HAVN'T RECOVERED FROM (heat exhaustion).or do i need to go take a chance at work..what about the atenolol.i been fine at symptons...thanks for the earlier advice!!

#217 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2008, 05:38 PM:

alan @ 216: You need to keep working with your doctors to figure out what's going on. You might want to carry a small notebook and jot down all the information that might help, such as the current time and temperature, your pulse rate, etc. etc. -- document everything that happens while you're feeling well and especially as you start to feel sick (if you do). What you describe is not a common sequel to heat stress, and you may have some underlying condition like adrenal gland problems -- but this cannot be diagnosed online. You must talk to your doctor(s) about your problems.

#218 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2009, 08:28 AM:

Heat deaths put pressure on football tradition


But in recent years, the ritual of two-a-days has come under scrutiny as heatstroke deaths have increased. On Monday, a high school coach from Louisville, Kentucky, will go to trial on charges of reckless homicide and wanton endangerment in the heat-exhaustion-related death of one of his players.


#219 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2009, 02:10 PM:

2 die after stay in Arizona 'sweatbox,' officials say

(CNN) -- Two people died and another 19 were injured at a central Arizona resort after spending up to two hours in a "sweatbox," authorities said Friday.

About 50 people had spent up to two hours inside the "sweatbox," a dome-like structure covered with tarps and blankets, according to the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office.


#220 ::: Serendipity ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2009, 01:41 AM:

Are you aware of any studies of potential long-term consequences to the nervous system (or any other long-term damage) from repeated exposure to heat exhaustion and heat stress? I can find studies on damage to the excretory system (particularly the kidneys) and to the cardiovascular system from the same. Thank you.

#221 ::: Serendipity ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2009, 01:44 AM:

Are you aware of any studies of potential long-term consequences to the nervous system (or any other long-term damage) from repeated exposure to heat exhaustion and heat stress? I can find studies on damage to the excretory system (particularly the kidneys) and to the cardiovascular system from the same. Thank you.

#222 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 03:14 PM:

Heat stress (and wind chill) charts.

Note that temperatures in the nineties coupled with relative humidity in the nineties can be life-threatening.

#223 ::: Mark sees spam ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2010, 07:57 PM:

Long on bluster, agreeable in tone, signifying nothing.

#224 ::: Xopher agrees that Mark has found SPAM ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2010, 08:09 PM:

Putting it in quote marks is kind of a flag too.

Seems to have been a thesaurus rendering of "Great post! I'll have to think about that."

#225 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2010, 02:00 PM:


Finalist dies at world sauna championships

A competitor has died and another is in hospital following a tragic end to the World Sauna Championships in southern Finland.

Russian Vladimir Ladyzhenskiy died Saturday after taking part in the final of a competition in which contestants are required to withstand rising temperatures for as long as possible.

#226 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2010, 11:33 PM:

I heard of this in the steam room tonight at the local health club.

The kids understanding of it was off, they thought it was a steam room, didn't know the temps climbed (nor did) they. They said he got up to leave, and his skin sloughed off.

I pointed out that, in a steam room; at constant temp, that wouldn't happen, but death by heatstroke would result.

They were also discussing water poisoning.

#227 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2010, 12:22 AM:

Terry #227: The article did suggest that at least the deceased finalist had been badly burned, which I find alarming.

I have to agree with whoever commented on another thread, that this is a truly stupid competition. It's on a par with competitive drowning!

#228 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2010, 02:36 PM:

Toronto child dies after being left in hot car in Texas.

Family visit + a lot of distractions + not being used to the kind of heat we have here = tragedy.

#229 ::: Elaine ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2010, 07:42 PM:

Can you tell me how much water is too much water -- and puts one at risk for water intoxication? Also, when is the best time to ingest electrolytes & salt: while in the heat, on a regular basis, before heat, after, etc?
WOW! This article is sooo interesting. I'm sooo glad I found it. I live in SC. High heat. High humidity. And, people around here think those that can't get out in the heat and exercise without air conditioning are 'spoiled'!!! They think drinking water while outdoors is all you need to prevent heat stroke!!
One more aside: I used to have a low core temperature & feel cold all the time. Now I sweat like crazy at the drop of a hat--even grocery shopping --even in winter. Doctors say hormones are fine - no menopause yet. Does anyone else have any ideas of what might be wrong with me? THANKS!

#230 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2010, 02:16 PM:

Elaine @ 230: My rule of thumb is, if you can urinate, you're hydrated. Watch the color of the urine -- dark means not hydrated enough; pale "straw" color means hydrated nicely. If you are not urinating, you're not hydrated.

When it comes to treading the fine line between water intoxication versus dehydration, and you don't know which direction to go in, take the path of mild dehydration. You can survive dehydration, particularly if mild. Your chances of surviving water intoxication (hyponatremia) are much worse, as this leads to brain swelling and that leads to death in most cases. Water intoxication kills quickly, dehydration kills slowly. You have time to drink more; you can't undrink too much.

Your change in sweating vs non sweating sounds hormonal, although not estrogens -- talk to your doctors about adrenal hormones or thyroid. That's where I would start.

#231 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2010, 03:22 PM:

Many thanks for the response (on an Open Thread, I think) on overheating problems with small dogs -- Honey the Chihuahua had a run-in with clostridium, and the hydration advice proved to be a life-saver.

Her vet said to us, "I don't doubt that the purging has been happening for the last 24 hours, but I wouldn't have known it from her current condition!"

We'd been giving her ice chips (she likes ice) as well as chicken broth. Also I highly recommend Kaopectillin -- a formulation of Kaopectate for animals (do not use human formula Kaopectate on dogs/cats).

Oh Jim -- Honey also had a hypoglycemic episode during this, and I've added the icing tubes to the doggy first aid kit. I couldn't believe how fast she bounced back (she got all shaky and unco-ordinated) with just a couple of licks of Kayro; then I realized the icing gel would have been easier to administer, so added it to the shopping list.

Treatment consisted of two different antibiotics (Flagyl and Amoxicillin) and continuation of the Kaopectillin unitl desired results were achieved.

Could the Canadian Geese in the park pond (Honey attemts to herd them) have been the vector for the bacteria?

#232 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2010, 03:38 PM:

Lori Coulson #232: A Chihuahua trying to herd Canadian geese? As in, 5 feet tall in alert posture? <boggle> Never mind the germs, you're lucky they haven't swatted Honey into the next state!

#233 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2010, 04:13 PM:

David Harmon: The geese always jump into the pond when we approach...I suspect that it's the human on the other end of the leash they're really paying attention to, and I don't let her get within swatting distance.

(If she's not afraid of the geese, I have a healthy respect for them!)

This Spring, she started out herding (not chasing) the ducks into the pond. The geese just arrived in the last month, way past nesting season.* I don't go near large water birds when there's a possibility they've set up housekeeping.

*She also points and flushes game -- she MUST have been a setter in a previous life.

#234 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2010, 04:40 PM:

Lori #234 Whew! OK, chalk one up for the leash.... Yeah, odd behavior for a Chihuahua, especially given that most "game" is bigger than her. Does she try to do that with pigeons?

#235 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2010, 05:30 PM:

David Harmon: Canada Geese are geese, but they aren't that tall. Heck, for geese they are downright petite.

I think the largest I've ever seen would rear to about three feet. Thankfully they are also mild-mannered. One of the few types of geese I've dealt with who've never actually gotten aggressive with me.

Now, African Grey, and Toulouse... those are both some nasty geese. The former will work in teams, which means a "goosing" is hard to avoid unless one beats a speedy, and careful, retreat.

#236 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2010, 06:08 PM:

Well, last year something dropped in on Charlottesville's Downtown Mall for a visit, it was clearly of general goose-kind, and with it's neck vertical, it was chest-high to me (I'm 5'8"). Prompted by context (audible migration), I assumed that was a Canada Goose. I have pictures of it with awed bystanders forming a wide half-circle....

#237 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2010, 06:43 PM:

David, #237: Link to pix? Canadas are pretty unmistakable. Maybe the one you saw was just unusually large.

#238 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2010, 06:51 PM:

A year and a half ago, Sunday morning after a Toronto-area con, I was crossing the hotel parking lot to get breakfast at a restaurant across the street. A Canada goose approached me obliquely on an intercept course, hissing, wings slightly raised. I have no idea what it thought it was doing, but I was tired, hungry, and In No Mood For This. I just stared it in its beady eyes and kept right on going, determined that if it went so far as to strike at me, it was going to get its neck twisted. When we got very close, it slowed down, and I walked past it.

I'm usually pretty good with critters, and don't generally get them upset even when I'm approaching them. The rabbits and skunks in my neighborhood pretty much ignore me. This encounter with the goose was bizarre.

#239 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2010, 06:54 PM:

Maybe it was rabid.

#240 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2010, 06:57 PM:

Lori @ 232: It would depend on the Clostridium species, and I doubt they typed it -- that class of bacteria is found in dirt all over the place. It forms spores which last for years -- you know it as Botulism (C. botulinum), Gas gangrene (C. perfringens), a nasty diarrheal disease in humans (C. difficile, aka C diff), tetanus (C. tetani), and there's a lot more where these came from.

Hypoglycemia would not be uncommon in acute illness, so it's good to keep that in mind. Good job keeping her healthy!

#241 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2010, 06:57 PM:

I still haven't gotten around to setting up a website or Flickr account, sigh. I could mail it to someone... (goes off to hunt up picture)

#242 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2010, 07:26 PM:

Jacque@240: I seem to recall that while rabies affects most mammal species, it doesn't do much outside of class Mammalia, and therefore would be unlikely to affect the behavior of a goose.

#243 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2010, 07:37 PM:

Rabies affects mammals only, yes. This means cows and horses do get it, although they rarely pass it on to humans.

#244 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2010, 07:42 PM:

OK, (goose-)egg-on-my-face time! I found the goose-on-the-Mall photos (March 18, 2009 - I even got a bit of video), and it clearly wasn't any 5 feet tall, or even 3. Somehow, my memory of it got massively inflated over time. (I'll spare you the neuropsychobabble excusestheories :-) )

#245 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2010, 08:08 PM:

An excessive football practice in hot weather put 14 high school boys in the hospital. All 30 athletes were evaluated at the hospital. They weren't allowed to drink water until they finished the drill. Talk about nuts.

Combination of intense drill, heat, dehydration, may have sent McMinnville players to hospital

#246 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2010, 09:00 PM:

Jail time for the coach, plz?

#247 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2010, 09:36 PM:

Earl Cooley @247: Perhaps community service? In hot locations?

#248 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2010, 10:16 PM:

It's such a classic case of a positive feedback loop. From the article linked above:

Cordie described the Sunday workout as "tough" and "pretty intensive," saying players pushed one another to impress the new coach.

The players cycled through 30 seconds each of chair dips and push-ups, then repeated, decreasing the time of each cycle until they reached five-second intervals, then stopping to spot a partner. It was unclear how many times the cycle was repeated, although players said that by the end of the drill, which lasted longer than 20 minutes, their sweat had pooled into small puddles on the ground.

If a player wasn't working hard enough, or was slacking off, everyone would have to reset and do the exercises again, Cordie said. Players got no water until after the workouts. No one was allowed to leave until everyone was done, he said.

The hardest-working 11 players in the program get to play, he said. "I was trying to prove to the coaches I can push myself to the max," Cordie said. "I wanted to be one of the 11 on Friday night."

#249 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2010, 11:34 PM:

David, #242: If you have a Yahoo account, you have a Flickr account; I remember being quite surprised when I went to register on Flickr and it said I already had an account. It'll be a free account, which lacks a lot of the features of the paid accounts, but hey.

Similarly, if you have a Google account, you have a free Picasa account. I haven't looked into that yet, because I'm happy with Flickr.

janetl, #249: Reminds me of the guy with the sweat lodge. I'm pleased to note that most of the comments on the article seem to be in agreement that not allowing the kids to drink water, in particular, was unconscionable abuse.

#250 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 06:26 AM:

Canada geese: these vary in size greatly. Females of the smallest subspecies are only about 1.3 -1.9 kg, while males of the largest subspecies reach 3.8 - 6.5 kg (multiply by 2.2 for pounds).

So (Terry Karney) I certainly wouldn't call most of the Canada goose subspecies petite (not like, say Nenes or Ross's geese), although Cackling and Richardson's Canadas are quite small, several Canada goose subspecies are among the larger (wild) geese. Of course the domestic stock (descended from Anser anser - Greylag geese, except the Chinese geese (the ones with the long thin necks and the bump at the top of the bill) descended from Swan geese Anser cygnoides) get larger.

Joel Polowin @ 239: Springtime? Perhaps you were near the nest where its mate was sitting - that makes most sense. Of course, geese are known to be good guard birds, and are sometimes kept as such.

And yes, rabies is basically a disease of mammals. It can be transmitted to birds (e.g. it was successfully transmitted by a controlled bite of a rabid dog onto the comb of a domestic fowl!) but it's vanishingly rare in birds and unlikely to be relevant.

#251 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 10:58 AM:

dcb@251: And here I thought rabies was strictly a disease of mammals. But it's okay, I won't go all paranoid about rabid birds, I did see the part where you italicized "can" and said "vanishingly rare" and "unlikely to be relevant".

#252 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 11:18 AM:

dcb @ 251 -- Guarding a nest would have been the obvious reason... but not in the middle of a hotel parking lot in Mississauga. There wasn't any place nearby for a nest to be.

#253 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 11:19 AM:

David Goldfarb @243: doesn't do much outside of class Mammalia

Hence the wee small joke. Ahem! :) (I really gotta work on my poker face.)

Besides, anything is possible with 3ft tall geese!

#254 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 12:53 PM:

ddb@ 252: Technically, rabies can infect any warm-blooded animal. Transmission of the virus is known to occur primarily from mammals, and in particular, terrestrial carnivores plus bats. Other species are generally "dead ends" in that the infection dies with that animal rather than being passed on to another individual.

#255 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 02:15 PM:

Ginger@255: Yeah, I was already thinking that a rabid bird was less likely to infect me than a rabid weasel since it's less likely to get body fluids into me.

I'm pleased to say that I haven't had to deal with rabid animals. On balance I don't really think rabies was a very good idea, and if I meet the inventor I will point that out.

#256 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 02:33 PM:

There was an interesting outbreak in a herd of kudu antelope, involving repeated herbivore-to-herbivore transmission, but it was an unusual set of factors: "An epizootic of rabies in the greater kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros) occurred in Namibia during 1977-1983. The virus strain involved in the epizootic proved to be identical to rabies strains found in infected dogs in many African countries. Such a sudden and large outbreak of rabies could not be explained on the basis of the etiologic agent. A thorough investigation into kudu characteristics revealed that the kudu population had increased disproportionally before the epizootic in response to favorable conditions. The social behavior of the kudu, i.e., group browsing on acacia trees, whose thorns cause lesions in the kudu's oral cavity, as well as the excretion of relatively high titers of virus in the saliva of infected animals provide suitable conditions for transmission in the kudu population after initial infection through the jackal or other species. These factors offer an explanation for this epizootic."

(H√ľbschle OJ. (1988) Rabies in the kudu antelope (Tragelaphus strepsiceros). Rev Infect Dis. 1988 Nov-Dec;10 Suppl 4:S629-33.)

#257 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 03:48 PM:

ddb @ 256: Most veterinary students are vaccinated against rabies during vet school. First, they showed us the film taken by the US Army of Turkish villagers dying of rabies in hospital; then they asked us if we wanted to get vaccinated. I reacted to each of the three subdermal vaccines, with a mild to moderate fever lasting several hours. My titer was still protective the last time I had it checked.

dcb@ 257: Fascinating! I wonder if that herd also had any sort of predisposition to susceptibility as well.

#258 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 04:04 PM:

Ginger@258: It's nice that there's now a vaccine that can be administered subdermally in advance! (I did know that previously, but it's still relatively "new" in my head.)

Clever promotional tactics; I'll bet that film is unpleasant.

#259 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 04:05 PM:

Joel Polowin @ 253 There wasn't any place nearby for a nest to be. Okay, it was just the first possibility that came to mind.

Ginger @ 256: Because we don't have rabies in the UK, most UK veterinary student's don't get vaccinated - it isn't a recommendation and isn't offered. Obviously it is suggested if you're going off to work somewhere rabies is endemic.

I've researched (as in literature searched and written about) the whole raccoon rabies problem in the USA. Including how one of the reasons they end up potentially exposing so many people is because raccoons are "cute", so if you see a "tame" raccoon (i.e., one not running away from you) in your yard, you might approach it... or try to hand-rear an "orphan". They've potentially exposed whole classrooms full of children that way.

Re. the kudu, it was a wild population, so I doubt it - just sufficient titres of virus in the saliva, the feeding habits with the thorns to break the mucosa, and a high enough population density that the same branches were being eaten by rabid then susceptible individuals. An interesting anomalous epidemiological situation.

#260 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 04:26 PM:

ddb @ 259: It's interesting. Dying of rabies is slow and progressive, so once you get into the comatose stage, you're not feeling any pain. Watching him try to drink something in the previous stage, though -- that was memorable.

dcb @ 260: I meant to say US veterinary students. Drat those typing-too-fast fingers! Yes, raccoons are cute, and so are kittens. Those two tend to be the primary sources of multiple human exposures that I've read about.

Does the kudu population maintain a low-level of endemic rabies? If not, how did this outbreak come under control, do you remember? Maybe I should just look up the article and read it myself!

#261 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 05:16 PM:

Ginger: Sorry, I've not go the whole article, only the abstract I quoted (straight from PubMed) - it's one of those things I just remembered having read about a while back (obviously it keeps coming up as an anomalous example in the wildlife rabies reviews). It may have died out naturally.

#262 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 08:51 PM:

dcb @262: No worries! It sounded so interesting -- if I remember to look for it tomorrow at work, I'll see if they discuss the resolution.

#263 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 10:34 PM:

Re rabies, I was pleased to learn that Jeanna Giese, one of only five humans to survive rabies after onset of symptoms, seems not to have been a fluke; since her case, 35 other patients have undergone similar treatment (being put in an induced coma, aka the Milwaukee Protocol), and 4 of them survived. This beats the hell out of the previous odds.

#264 ::: paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 11:39 PM:

I was Very Happy that the bat that ended up in our living room Friday night was very healthy and not the least bit acting rabid.

We got home from an outdoor event in what appeared to be the teeth of a hurricane. My speculation is that it was hanging on our porch for shelter and when we came trooping onto the porch and opened the door it saw the dark place and went "cave! Safety!". And dived inside.

We finally resorted to a gentle broom tap to ground and capture it because it would not go under the arch between the living room and the entry / way out. We already scared our predator cat out of the room because if she'd been there, she'd have grabbed it and killed it. When I wrapped it into a piece of clothing I could tell the muscle tone was good and it cursed me out in bat-ish. I pulled the shirt open enough to make sure it had no broken bones, turned around, then turned back to make sure it wasn't enfolded enough to get snagged. When I looked at it when I turned back, it leaped into the (currently lightly rainy) sky.

#265 ::: paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 11:39 PM:

I was Very Happy that the bat that ended up in our living room Friday night was very healthy and not the least bit acting rabid.

We got home from an outdoor event in what appeared to be the teeth of a hurricane. My speculation is that it was hanging on our porch for shelter and when we came trooping onto the porch and opened the door it saw the dark place and went "cave! Safety!". And dived inside.

We finally resorted to a gentle broom tap to ground and capture it because it would not go under the arch between the living room and the entry / way out. We already scared our predator cat out of the room because if she'd been there, she'd have grabbed it and killed it. When I wrapped it into a piece of clothing I could tell the muscle tone was good and it cursed me out in bat-ish. I pulled the shirt open enough to make sure it had no broken bones, turned around, then turned back to make sure it wasn't enfolded enough to get snagged. When I looked at it when I turned back, it leaped into the (currently lightly rainy) sky.

#266 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 02:15 AM:

David Harmon @ 245, the problem is that what your camera's recording is the physical size of the goose, whereas what you're remembering is the size of the ego that the goose was projecting. By themselves they're kind of like athyra or rap artists, and they often hang out in gangs.

#267 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 03:34 AM:

Lila @ 264: Interesting to hear there have been other survivors using the Milwaukee Protocol.

Paula Helm Murray @ 265/6: Sounds like you acted sensibly. Note to all do NOT handle a bat (behaving normally or abnormally) in North America* with bare hands - make sure you have gloves, cloth or whatever so it cannot bite you. If you do get bitten, even if you don't think it broke the skin, go ask your doctor about prophylactic treatment.

Ginger: Anything to add to this advice?

* In the UK, don't handle Daubenton's bats (which carry European lyssavirus 2) with bare hands. If you can't identify it, assume it may be Daubenton's!

#268 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 07:09 AM:

dcb @268: I think you've got it all.

Wildlife in general should be handled only when absolutely necessary, and everyone washes their hands thoroughly with soap immediately after, even if you didn't touch the animal directly, right? Proper handwashing will reduce the risk of infection.

#269 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 05:29 PM:

(Salt pills can rip your stomach and can send you into hypernatremia, which has its own constellation of not-fun signs and symptoms.)

A few months ago, a friend of mine started having a serious problem whereby his body dumps sodium; he's been told by his doctors to restrict fluids and to massively increase his salt intake. The necessary amount is enough to make food taste utterly foul if it's taken that way. His wife (the caregiver) wasn't able to find salt tablets anywhere, so a pharmacy has made a bunch of table-salt-in-gel-capsules pills for her.

Now that I reread your article with that item in mind, I'm a bit concerned. The salt pills you're describing... are they solid tablets of NaCl, and hence likely to hang around in that form in the stomach? Or are they something which would disintegrate? That is, is the irritation due to a pellet of solid NaCl sitting next to the stomach wall, or to temporary high concentrations of NaCl in the stomach?

#270 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2010, 04:19 PM:

It's been a long time since I've taken salt tablets - I think they're likely to dissolve quickly rather than being solid crystals.

You can get cheap capsule-making equipment at health food stores, which makes it convenient and only somewhat tedious to fill gelcaps. Typical use is for people who want to take herbs, but it'd work fine for salt.

The main frustration I have with it is that I don't have a scale that can weigh things that small (not sure my kitchen scale would even be accurate for a pile of 100 of the things.) Such scales are readily available in head shops for about $50, but I haven't been that curious. With salt I guess it'd be easy enough to measure the total volume of salt you used and convert appropriately.

#271 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2011, 07:47 AM:

Just discovered that the excellent Random Acts of Reality blog had linked to this article.

I've just had my first heat-stress related injury. A 90+ patient wearing multiple layers, including rubber boots and rubber gloves (for working out-of-doors), down with a fall secondary to a full-on case of heat stroke. This on a day that was just 80°F. It doesn't really matter what the measured temperature is, just what your body's reaction to it is. Heat-stress is all about thermoregulation, and being acclimated to a particular temperature range.

When I was in the Republic of Panamá, people would start putting on sweaters any time the temperature dipped below 90°F. Here, people put on shorts and sandals when the temperature gets above 50°F. It's all about what your body is used to.

#272 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2011, 01:19 AM:

I've been watching "Game of Thrones", and one of the phrases there is "Winter is Coming". Living in Houston, though, it's "Summer is Coming"...and it's not quite here yet, but with the last couple of days getting up into the 90s (or mid-30s) it's looming large.

#273 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2011, 02:25 AM:

I'm going to be doing a large outdoor event in Dallas this weekend. It's going to be hot as hell, and I've been taking thought to how I can best stay healthy.

- I'll be under a pop-up, so not in direct sunlight. The top also has light silvering on it to reduce heat buildup.

- I'm going to have a large floor fan and probably a small tabletop fan for air circulation.

- I'll be wearing lightweight cotton clothing (and not being very active once I'm set up).

- I'll have plenty of drinks in a cooler in the booth (plain water and unsweetened flavored fizzy water), and will make sure to stay hydrated.

- I'll also have salty snacks on hand -- nuts and beef jerky.

- I'm taking my "personal-size swamp cooler" and one of those silica-gel things that you soak and chill and put around your neck.

Anything else I should be thinking about?

#274 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2011, 09:00 AM:

Lee, you might also think about a big ol' floppy hat. Think about layers, so you can take stuff off or put it on as needed. Not exactly heat stress, but consider the sunburn question if you're going to be outdoors.

If you're going to be with others, keep an eye on 'em.

And enjoy yourself.

#275 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2011, 12:25 PM:


In my experience, it is very difficult to stay hydrated with cold drinks. You might consider making sure to drink a pint an hour, and taking water out of the cooler to warm up if you need to to do so.

Also, first event of the season, take something for chafing. (Vaseline works fine for me.)

If the heat is really pushing you (this is more a problem when doing strenuous things) getting enough to eat can be a problem. Make sure you eat enough. (If eating is mildly nauseating, you are on the edge of the danger zone for heat exhaustion.)

#276 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2011, 10:33 PM:

Lee @ 275

I strongly recommend a product called "Aluminet", or something similar. It's a shade blanket. I was at a rocket meet last summer in Colorado, in 100 degree F and higher temps. Our group had a block of popups, and on the sunward side (we had to move it between morning and afternoon) we clipped this stuff. It's a silvery mesh which comes in 30% to 70% light reduction. We had the 70% and it made a very noticeable reduction in temperature between our popups and other people's. It does block some air flow, but not entirely. Some other people had the 40%, and expressed the wish they'd gotten the heavier grade.

We also draped some between the popup and a minivan, to make a kind of awning annex.

You can find it online, or sometimes at garden supply stores. You can probably get custom sizes, to fit nicely around the sides of your popup, and even custom grommet holes in the edging.

Incidentally, twice that week there were gust fronts that came through in the evening; the only popups that came through both storms unscathed were name-brand EZ-Up. And only the ones which had the tops taken off for the night. Offbrand popups, even naked ones, were twisted wreckage.

I have no connection with either company. I'm not even a customer; the Aluminet and the EZ-Ups belonged to other people.

#277 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2011, 12:18 PM:

Cally, #278: I might look into that Aluminet stuff for future events, though it's a bit late for this one.

Unfortunately, the EZ-Up has a different problem that makes it ineligible for me -- the construction of the roof leads to water pooling in the corners if it rains, and eventually the weight of the water will collapse the frame. Nor is it possible for me to remove the lid overnight, since there will be merchandise left in the booth (although I'll be packing the expensive items in and out every day). But that's what the Big Honkin' Tent Weights are for. 30 pounds of concrete at each corner, strung to the upper part of the frame, makes it a lot harder for things to blow away.

#278 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2011, 07:32 PM:

Lee @ 279

Yes, I can see that Big Honkin' Tent Weights would help a lot!

The Aluminet wouldn't help you if your popup was facing the sun, of course, because of that whole "being clearly open to customers" thing, but in future events it may keep the sun off the back of your neck.

#279 ::: Clifton Royston sees spam ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2011, 02:45 AM:

Same old blah-blah with link.

#280 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2011, 01:55 PM:

Heat-related deaths reported in Maryland, Tennessee

Four of 'em so far.

Meanwhile, in Manchester, New Hampshire: The word today and tomorrow: Hydration

Summer time, folks.

Stay safe.

#281 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2011, 04:14 PM:

FWIW, my heat-defense mechanisms at that event seemed to work pretty well. By the end of the weekend I was worn out from the heat, but had not come anywhere near actual heat exhaustion. I think the biggest help (aside from drinking enough) was the floor fan... plus, every time I took a restroom break, I splashed cold water over my face and arms and then stood directly under the A/C vent for a few minutes! Evaporative cooling FTW.

#282 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2011, 08:06 AM:

Record temperatures seen as heat wave plagues 15 states

The states under the heat advisory are:

-- Nebraska

-- Kansas

-- Oklahoma

-- Texas

-- Iowa

-- Missouri

-- Arkansas

-- Louisiana

-- Illinois

-- Indiana

-- Ohio

-- Kentucky

-- Tennessee

-- Alabama

-- Mississippi

#283 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2011, 05:13 PM:

I think we're under a heat advisory too, here in New Jersey. Also an Air Quality Alert.

#284 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2011, 05:51 PM:

Whereas up here in the frozen north of New England, it's just plain hot.

I do not miss southern summers at all, nooooo.

#285 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 12:20 PM:

Record highs broken in slew of cities

As many as 22 deaths are blamed on the heat, the [National Weather Service] said. Spokesman Pat Slattery said that includes 13 deaths in Missouri that officials say could be heat-related.

Excessive heat and humidity are "expected to expand into the Ohio Valley and East Coast states for the remainder of the week," the weather service said in its forecast Thursday.

Stay safe, kids.

Put a bunch of oranges in the reefer. Quarter 'em, suck on 'em. Replace those electrolytes....

#286 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 09:01 AM:

Athletes don't get exemptions from heat either, even for swimming.

Indeed, excessively hot water is worse than hot air, as it has much more "thermal mass". And in the open-water conditions described, they'd be under direct sun, and probably reflections to boot.

#287 ::: Emily ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2012, 01:12 AM:

Okay, so this is an old post, I know, but...

I had my first bout of Heat Exhaustion when I was about 6... Nasty experience. My parents were working a summer camp, and only 2 buildings had air conditioning... And they were having record highs. The next time I had it, I was 10... And I'm never getting on a golf course in July again. Since then, I haven't had a full out attack, but several times (at music camp when I was 13, just to name one. There have been many.) I've gotten really dizzy and felt like I was about to pass out. Always goes away after I drink something and get in the shade. BUT, about a year ago, I cut my hand... Bled quite a bit, but not enough to effect someone. But my body decided that it would be a good idea to pass out... Onto a tile floor none the less. I was just realizing that my symptoms before I passed out were the same as when I get too hot... Could there be a connection?

#288 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2012, 01:43 AM:

Hey Emily: old posts are left open for a reason. Not all the posts to them are spam, and yours sure doesn't look spammish!

Yes, there might well be a connection, but I'm not credentialed enough to say what it might be. There are both psychological and physiological reasons why this might happen.

Welcome to the conversation, and I'd encourage you to stick around and look at current discussions.

#289 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2012, 08:35 AM:

Emily #291: My semi-informed opinion is that the common factor would be mild "shock". This would be usual for heat stress; the bleeding incident was probably more-or-less psychological. That is, "your body"¹ knows it's bleeding ("hey trouble down here"), then when you see "blood everywhere!", "your mind"¹ adds enough emergency signals to throw your body into level 1 emergency shutdown ("drop the blood pressure pronto, and stop moving dammit!").

There are a fair number of people who faint at the sight of blood -- sometimes only their own, occasionally other people's too. The difference here would be neurological -- whether the "body" signal is actually necessary, or if the "mind" can do that on its own.

¹ That's simplified for brevity: "Body" here probably means spinal cord, medulla, and thereabouts, while "mind" is actually a preconscious watchdog circuit fed from early in your sensory-processing cascade.

#290 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2012, 08:45 AM:

P.S. to me #293: The shock response I'm describing certainly far predates our possession of hands that could actually do something about serious wounds.

#291 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2012, 09:46 AM:

Emily @291 (and Tom, and David): Yes, that's a physiological response to sudden stress, called shock. It can be caused by heat stress, low blood pressure/low blood volume, severe pain, or by the brain reacting (psychogenic).

Stress here does not mean the same thing as in non-medical language; it's a physiological concept that involves multiple body systems, including stress hormones, adrenalin, etc. -- to physiologists, stress is what an organism does in adverse situations. Distress is what happens when a stressed organism cannot alleviate the stress.

Hope this didn't bore you too much!

#292 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2012, 06:20 PM:

Ginger #295: Certainly not boring! And that stress/distress definition is especially intriguing.

#293 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2012, 01:47 PM:

David @ 296: It leads to the understanding that stress is not bad, not physiologically and not in all circumstances. Bones remain healthy because we stress them by using the muscles that attach to them, and by being in a gravity field. Adrenaline and other stress hormones are released in pulsatile manner throughout the day, so it's normal to find them. When the stress hormones climb to elevated levels and stay there, or the bones are subjected to excessive forces, then it become too much stress. Organisms evolved to deal with "normal" stress; distress leads to illness and in some cases early death.

We try to minimize distress in our research animals, in order to promote their health and well-being, which, in turn, leads to good science.

#294 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2012, 06:11 PM:

Hi, Emily.

It sounds like you've had both heat stress, and (more recently) possible psychogenic shock.

The subjective experience for both can be pretty similar.

A history of heat-related injury means that you'll be more susceptible to heat-related injury in the future. Be careful.

You might also like to look at the post on Shock.

#295 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2012, 06:00 PM:

Temperatures, at least on the east coast, have been horrible. Humidity has been horrible too.

Everyone, stay safe.

Speaking of staying safe, there's been some unusual weather around the country. Make sure your bug-out bags are packed.

#296 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2012, 06:33 PM:

I feel vaguely guilty over the cool, overcast days we're having in the Willamette Valley.

My bug-out bag is ready in case or earthquake, or some volcano or other blowing off, or a Japanese monster hitchhiking on tsunami debris attacking the Oregon coast.

Be safe!

#297 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2012, 10:28 AM:

I spent the weekend in Las Vegas. I don't think the temperature was below 80(F) the entire time I was there, including at 4am.

The bonus of Vegas is that they know how to deal with heat; every interior space is air conditioned, outdoors there are misters and shade, and there's someone selling water every few feet. The problem with Vegas, as someone from a more humid climate, is that the sweat evaporates so fast you don't realize you're sweating and it's easy to dehydrate.

#298 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2012, 11:24 AM:

The US Forest Service's Fire Incident Status site.

Lovers of Pogo (and nonfictional swamp life as well) will be glad to hear that the Honey Prairie Complex fire in Okefenokee Swamp is now officially out, after burning for a year.

#299 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2012, 12:18 PM:

Karen's mother had the roof of her condo torn off by what was either a tornado or a downblast -- which apparently cut a car in half as well. She wasn't hurt, and wondered whether she should put up the storm windows afterwards. Lots of weather weirdness out there!

#301 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2012, 12:23 PM:

And I should just mention that the transformer for the controller for the air conditioner blew yesterday evening. Fortunately, it's not quite as hot in these here Texas parts today ...

(We were able to get people to come out and look at it, but the parts supplier doesn't open until sometime Monday.)

#302 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2012, 04:49 PM:

Brief power failure last night, apparently due to a windstorm. (We get a lot of those in C-ville) Brief for me, anyway, but then, I live across the street from a power substation. Others had it worse. 100-degree heat....

#303 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2013, 10:46 PM:

Man dies, 5 others rescued in extreme heat near Hoover Dam

It's that time of year again. Keep high situational awareness and stay safe.

#304 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2013, 11:14 PM:

Very low humidity, so they didn't feel the heat as much.
I don't recommend it.

#305 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2013, 12:34 PM:
Extreme heat causes more deaths than all other extreme weather conditions, the Centers for Disease Control say.

It killed over 8,000 people between 1979 and 2003, more than "hurricanes, lightning, tornadoes, floods, and earthquakes combined."

That gooey heat? It gets worse Thursday

#306 ::: Kirstin ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2020, 12:43 AM:

Hey Jim, a way-late thank you. I've read all your medical posts here before, and reread from time to time, and very fortunately, this stuck. See, we just had a heat wave in May. Highest temperature recorded in my city sonce 1975--and that one was in August. First day, I didn't think much about it despite being temperature sensitive from fibromyalgia (yep, I was a dunderhead), but round about 10pm I found myself doing laps of my kitchen, trying to figure out what I was supposed to be doing. Everything was just wrong, and I didn't understand. Made it to my husband's office to tell him that I was not OK. The laps baffled him, but in trying to explain what was wrong (without being able to speak in sentences), I got out, "Too hot... cold clammy skin... confusion..." and it clicked, even if I couldn't say it. I nipped into a tepid shower, had a nice little lie down for 20 minutes or so (sit down before you fall down was a mantra in my old choir, that stuck too), and then was able to explain coherently that it was heat exhaustion, and the next order of business was dilute salted lemonade.

He was going to just put me to bed to sleep it off (no extra fluids, no cooling). I don't want to know what would have happened if I hadn't remembered this article. We had a little review session on heat stress the next day (I've had to wrestle him into a tepid shower before) as we set up the air conditioning.

Oh, and the walking in circles thing? Turned out I was dizzy as hell and the circles were offsetting that somehow.

So, thank you for writing things that stick in my head even when I am incoherent

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