So, here we are, on day 47 of the worst heat wave since the days of the dinosaurs – or so it seems – and health authorities continue to treat people like imbeciles.
Following is an actual excerpt from an advisory on preventing heat-related illness issued by the Centers for Disease Control, regarded as one of the nation’s leading authorities on all things medical:
– Drink more fluids.
– Take a cool shower or bath.
The estimable American Red Cross makes this suggestion:
"If you do not have air conditioning, choose places you could go to for relief from the heat during the warmest part of the day (schools, libraries, theaters, malls)."
And the National Weather Service warns:
– Slow down. Reduce, eliminate or reschedule strenuous activities until the coolest time of the day.
– Dress for summer. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing.
– Don't get too much sun.
Gee, I don’t know about you, but I always emulate mad dogs and Englishmen by going out in the midday sun. I also found its best to wear a wool sweater, overcoat, hat and mittens when running in excessively hot weather, and avoid consuming any liquids.
Conversely, in late January when snow flies, winds howl and temperatures plummet, these same institutions warn about the perils of hypothermia and frostbite by urging anyone venturing outdoors to dress in layers, stay dry and avoid prolonged exposure to severe cold.
With this in mind, I hereby offer similarly useful tips for dealing with a plethora of health- and weather-related situations those of us who venture into the great outdoors occasionally experience.
– Don’t seek refuge during a lightning storm by climbing a flagpole.
– When encountering a hornet’s nest it’s best not to whack it with a stick.
– Never try to tease a grizzly bear by playfully running off with one of its cubs.
– To avoid unforeseen complications most rock climbers opt to tie off the top of the rope before belaying.
– Don’t assess avalanche risk by jumping up and down on a snow shelf.
– Stop eating freshly picked mushrooms immediately at the onset of projectile vomiting.
– One way of determining if snakebite was from a potentially lethal copperhead or from a harmless milk snake is excruciating, throbbing pain in the vicinity of the bite.
– The efficacy of repeated cursing as an insect repellant has not been adequately proven.
– Never accept an invitation to hunt quail with Dick Cheney.
– A startled skunk that spins around and lifts its tail in your direction is trying to tell you something.
Anyway, I trust the persistently oppressive heat and humidity aren’t deterring fellow adventurers from enjoying the great outdoors.
Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to don my expedition parka and insulated climbing pants before heading on for a midday hike.