Wow, has it ever been HOT this summer. Now we have fires burning everywhere it seems. What a crazy year! Can we just fast-forward to 2021?
Excessive heat can be very stressful on your body, but when you are healthy, your body is well equipped to handle it. Here are some tips to help you keep your cool, even with a mask on your face, as well as some body function trivia from your Sacramento Chiropractor.
Did you ever wonder how you can take your body outside when it is 108 degrees, and it somehow stays cooler than 100 degrees? Hmmm. This is puzzling, as everything else outside eventually gets heated up to 108 degrees, yet your body stays cooler. This can even be when you are out there golfing all day or working in the yard. This is an amazing phenomenon, I would say!
The answer is that your amazing nervous system is constantly monitoring and adjusting all the systems in your body. Another reason why the spine and nervous system are the targets of most chiropractic care. When they are working their best, your body works its best.
When your body starts to get too hot, your nervous system sends signals to your SWEAT glands and they release sweat onto your skin. Basic physics reminds us that when the water in your sweat evaporates, it takes a little heat with it, and you feel cooler. Yeah! Of course, this works best in our Sacramento "DRY" heat. Yes, dry heat does make a difference. In contrast, when the air is humid, and the air is already saturated with water, the sweat on your skin does not evaporate as quickly and you feel hotter.
32 years ago, in August, we had a family reunion vacation at a resort in Arkansas. No relatives lived there. We just found a resort that looked like fun and something different than our usual Minnesota reunion where my mom is from.
The resort also advertised, "No mosquitos," a nice contrast to Minnesota where they are the "state bird." They were truthful about having no mosquitos, but there were every other kind of insects and flies to pester us all week. That year there were even cicadas insects hatching and making a racket, which apparently only come out like every 17 years. The air temperature was close to 100 degrees and the humidity, close 100% also. It was almost unbearable. The only thing that saved us that week was the swimming pool, the lake and some wall AC units running full blast all day and night in our rooms. Of course, laughing and visiting with extended family made it worth it too!
Now, since we know that sweat is the main strategy our body uses to stay cool, we can help our hot situation by staying hydrated and drinking plenty of water. There is a simple "lab" test you can do at home to make sure you are properly hydrating.
The "lab" is your toilet bowl and you can simply observe the color of your urine when you go. If it is quite yellow, you are likely dehydrated, or perhaps you just took your vitamins. You should strive to drink enough water, even before you are thirsty, and hope to see some clear urine in the bowl the next time you do some home lab work.
I recall a couple summers ago, walking and playing 18 holes of golf at Ancil Hoffman Golf Course. It was quite hot that day. I also recall trying my best to just have fun with my buddies, and not complain about the heat. After all, I chose to live here in the Sacramento Valley, AND to play golf that day, so why complain right? I drank what I thought was plenty of water, even had a beer at the turn, but when I got back to the clubhouse and visited the little boys room, I realized it was my first time going in over 5 hours! Yes, it was bright yellow. I definitely failed my lab work that day! Maybe if I was better hydrated, I would have made that birdie putt on 18! Now I have a cool Hydroflask insulated bottle, that keeps water really cold, and I take it everywhere, even paddle boarding on the river.
Another way your body adjusts to reduce body heat is by dilating the blood vessels that are close you your skin. That is why your face, which has a multitude of blood vessels, can look as red and ripe as those tasty tomatoes growing in the garden.
The other way you can help get heat out of your body and feel cooler is to get some air blowing across your skin. When you have a breeze going with a fan for example, the heat is literally blown away from your skin. Of course, you can just hang out indoors and run the AC like I am doing these days! As much as I love outdoor recreation and activity, 108 degrees is just too much for me!
Lastly, you can also simply splash your hands and face with cool water or jump in the pool if you have one. That can be tremendously refreshing.
I hope you stay cool, calm and collected during this crazy season and heat wave, and if you need to be adjusted, we'll leave the lights and the AC on for you here at the office. We are back from vacation, and plan to be here normal hours, Monday through Thursday, well into the fall.
Gregg Anderson, D.C.
Your Sacramento Chiropractor