By Laura Garcia, program specialist with Army Substance Abuse Program (ASAP)
GRAFENWOEHR, Germany — It’s officially summer in Bavaria! While these farmlands still receive occasional rain showers, the clouds do not always ward off heat. And when the sun does peak through, the temperature tends to get hot. Besides making us sweat more, heat can do a lot of other things to our system. Enjoy summer’s heat by keeping these precautions in mind.
- The summer season brings new plants and flowers, which then spreads pollen all around us. One of the best ways to aid the discomfort of allergies is to pay attention to the pollen count. Stay inside when the count is really high. Then go outside in the late afternoon, when the pollen has settled a bit. An added bonus to this strategy is that you may be beating the heat, as evening temperatures should be cooler.
- Sleeping in the heat can cause lots of discomfort. Many homes within Germany are built without air conditioners, and portable variations can be expensive. If you don’t have a unit, try sleeping with a fan. In addition to cooling the air, fans provides white noise that may aid in lulling you to sleep. If you have a basement or a screened in porch, you may get some relief by sleeping in these areas.
- Too much heat can impact your heart. You body’s cooling system is designed to work your blood from overheated areas in your core to the skin surface, where you sweat — this creates a natural air conditioner. When air temperature goes up, your body temperature goes up; moreover, your heart works harder to get the heat out. There are several precautions you can take to help prevent heart troubles in the summer heat, such as: drinking plenty of water, not overexerting yourself, eating lighter meals and keeping an eye on your blood pressure. Remember that your body is working to keep you cool. Do your best to help.
- Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are most commonly experienced during the summer months, but these illnesses are preventable. Know the symptoms and be prepared to act if someone you are near is exhibiting signs of overheating. Also know that you may not recognize the symptoms as easily within yourself, so keep an eye on each other.
- As the heat increases, so does the number of active bugs. Use bug spray to help keep them away. Check for ticks often, if you are outside in the grass. And if you, or a loved one, is allergic to insect bites and stings — such as bees or Oak Processional Moth caterpillars — then stay prepared with proper medications nearby. Time is of the essence, should you need help.
The 2020 Summer Sense Campaign runs from Memorial Day through Labor Day. So every Wednesday, listen for ASAP’s broadcast segment on AFN Bavaria. Then return to this article for the discussed recipes, quizzes and more.
Editor’s Note: Sidney Sullivan, with the U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria Public Affairs Office, contributed to this article.