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Tips for beating the heat, even at the beach

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By Staff Brunswick Beacon

I’m sure global warming supporters are jumping for joy with the temperatures soaring faster than gas prices.

You know it’s hot out there when the conversation turns from rising gas prices to rising temperatures.

On a recent 99-degree day in Wilmington, my brother was complaining to me that it was even hotter and more humid in his D.C. suburb, missing the coastal breeze of Southeastern North Carolina.

With normal early-June highs teetering around the mid-80s mark in our part of the world, the recent temperatures have people talking.

People in Wrightsville Beach this weekend learned quickly what Sunset Beach-goers have been dealing with for years—a broken bridge.

It was so hot at Wrightsville that firefighters were brought in to spray down the broken bridge to cool it off so people could go to and from the island town.

Many of the people trying to get to the beach probably would have been better off staying at home where, hopefully, it’s cool.

The National Weather Service, the folks who issue heat advisories, recommend the following tips for staying safe in the heat.

•Drink plenty of non-alcoholic, non-carbonated, caffeine-free beverages like water or juice. I guess I’ll have to swap my Diet Pepsis out for water for the rest of the week.

•Avoid the outdoors. This heat is a great reason not to exercise, unless you count shopping. Shopping malls serve as a haven from the heat for people without air conditioning. People should avoid exercising between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. This includes yard work—don’t do it.

•Ditch that diet. Anyone who adheres to a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet needs to ditch it to stay cool. High protein foods should be avoided. Eating smaller meals more frequently is better for the heat.

•Never leave children or pets in the car, even with the windows cracked.

•Check on the elderly, who are more susceptible to heat-related illnesses.

As much as we who live here long for the beach, and tourists, who actually make it to the beach, enjoy being in the sun, these recent temperatures can be dangerous.

Without lifeguards manning our local beaches, it’s important to stay safe whether you’re wading in the waves, walking along the shore, or lounging in the sun.

When the heat index, which is the temperature plus humidity, reaches between 80-90 degrees, fatigue is possible with prolonged sun exposure (yes, this means at the beach) or with physical activity.

When the heat index reaches 90-105 degrees, people become susceptible to sunstroke, heat cramps and heat exhaustion with prolonged exposure or physical activity.

If the heat index is higher than 105 degrees, sunstroke, heat cramps and heat exhaustion become likely, and heatstroke is possible—none of which is a day at the beach.

Caroline Curran is a staff writer at the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or ccurran@brunswickbeacon.com.