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How to keep cool and what to avoid as rising temperatures impact our area

Here are some activities you should limit when oppressive heat hits in Central Pa.

PENNSYLVANIA, USA — Editor's note: The above video is from August 2021.

High temperatures aren't just an inconvenience in daily life, they can be extremely dangerous as well. The CDC reports that extreme heat kills upwards of 700 Americans each year. 

Here are some activities you should avoid in dangerously high temperatures. 

Limit alcohol and sodas

Alcohol works as a diuretic, which rids the body of water. 

The combination of sweating from high heat temperatures and drinking boozy beverages can quickly dehydrate your body. Dehydration symptoms can range anywhere between a headache to seizures, according to National Health Center.

Sodas and cold brew coffees may be enticing alternatives, but they can actually heighten your dehydration more

To avoid such a state, experts recommend that you ensure that you're drinking plenty of water when it's hot outside. According to the CDC, don't wait until you're thirsty to drink. And if you're hosting or attending an outdoor party, ensure that you are pacing alcoholic beverages and soda between water bottles. 

Exercising outside

Experts say that sweating more while exercising in extreme heat does not mean you're burning more fat. Our bodies produce sweat in order to cool down, and forcing yourself to exercise in hot temperatures can easily increase the risk of a heat stroke, which occurs when the body reaches an internal temperature of 104 degrees and the body is no longer producing sweat. Heat cramps and exhaustion are also common symptoms of too much exertion. 

Alternatively, doctors say to try and schedule outdoor workouts before the sun fully rises. Early morning and late night are good time frames to avoid the heat. Working out in shady areas is also something recommended by the Mayo Clinic. Understanding your body and fitness level are important factors to be cognizant of, as well. 

Avoid fatty or high-sodium meals

Eating and digesting large quantities of food can actually increase your internal body temperature, doctors say. As your metabolism works to digest fatty foods, your body temperature rises. Even cold foods, like ice cream, can raise your internal heat. Fatty foods move slower through your digestive system, requiring the body to expend more energy to break it down. 

Fruits, vegetables, and cold soups are just a few examples of lighter alternatives that can keep you cool in hot weather. 

Don't leave certain items in your car

It's important to get inside when high temperatures impact the state. However, there are several key items you may not want to leave behind in your car. Medication rarely needs to be kept hot, and when extreme temperatures hit, your car can easily hit over 100 degrees within an hour. High temperatures can damage medicine and cause an early expiration.

Glasses are another important item to remove from your car. In direct sunlight, glasses frames can warp, resulting in distorted vision. 

Lastly, experts say you shouldn't keep plastic bottles in your hot car. Health experts are divided on whether the water itself will go bad from the chemicals within the plastic; however, it's generally recommended that water left within a hot car for more than a day shouldn't be consumed. 

The plastic bottles themselves also pose a fire hazard risk

It's rare, but when sunlight directly hits a plastic bottle for a prolonged period of time, they could spark. 

When hot weather hits Pennsylvania, you can remember these tips to help stay safe.

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