Saturday, 4 January 2014

Ground Level Ozone-Temperatures

Some Like It Hot!

So maybe the title is a bit deceptive since there will be no mention of the famous movie by the same title that starred Marilyn Monroe and Tony Curtis, except for this one. What I am referring to, however, is the intense heat that is EZ-Baking the middle of the US and slowly marching east. From Denver to DC, Atlanta to Chicago, temperatures surpassing the century mark have set records in over a dozen cities this week. While a lot of us really enjoy the sun and being outdoors, +100° temps are a time when some caution should be used. Here's just a quick list of things to keep in mind while you worry about if you used enough deodorant today.

  • Avoid the Heat, Avoid Ozone - Record temperatures are almost synonymous with ground level ozone and air quality warnings. A look at the national map reveals a lot of code orange dots scattered throughout the eastern part of the country. Heat mixes with emissions to create a stew of pollutants that can adversely effect everyone but specifically the elderly, children and anyone suffering from a heart condition or respiratory issue. This means asthmatics and those with COPD, among others, should take precautions to limit to their time outdoors to early mornings when ozone is at its lowest levels. If you must go out, use a mask that features carbon or charcoal in the filter.
  • Sunscreen + Water = Win! - If you are going to enjoy the sunshine, make sure to use a little sunscreen and drink plenty of water. With almost no chance of rain, not a cloud to be found and temperatures so high, it's important to protect your skin from UVA and UVB rays. Vanicream offers a healthier sunscreen is healthier alternative to traditional sun blockers that can be laden with harmful chemicals and fragrance. Water is very important in replacing what you lose through perspiring and preventing dehydration. It's a great way to avoid looking like a sun-dried raisin!
  • Put Off Yard Work - Much to the chagrin of your significant other, you officially have a legitimate reason for putting this off. If there is work to be done in the yard, aim to complete it by 9-11am, at the latest. Depending on local conditions, there may be no dew on the ground even earlier than this, but typically dew "burns off" by the midmorning hours. You can either wait a few days until the extreme temperatures subside or use the early hours to get your outdoor chores completed (and earn brownie points for not putting it off!).
  • Take a Break - If you are outside for very long or doing physical activity, take a break! Find some shade, a cool drink and give you body some time to recover. Extreme sun and heat saps your strength, so short periods of rest can help recharge your batteries. And don't forget about eating. When the temperatures are warm and I am outside, I can be guilty of this. Heavier foods are not going to be helpful, light snacks and fruit provide the energy you need to keep going.
  • Don't Forget the Pets - Have outdoors pets? Bring them inside. If they're anything like my dog, after a hot day at work, he loves to just flop on the cool tile in our downstairs and soak up the cool. At the very least, keep an eye on outdoor pets and ensure they have plenty of fresh water and shade. Alone inside a parked car with the windows cracked? Unless you have the vehicle running, and your AC cranked, it's like a blast furnace in your car or truck. In this case, it is actually better if they are outdoors, or best still, leave them home.
  • Take a Moment for Tomatoes - If you have a garden or just a few tomato plants and landscaping like I do, the heat can wilt and damage them in fairly short order. Vulnerable, potted plants should be moved to areas where exposure to sunlight is less than normal. Water them in the early hours or after the sun has gone down to reduce the amount that is lost by evaporation. Some plants, even when not exposed to direct sunlight, will wilt simpl read more..

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