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Queens Chronicle

Stayin’ alive in summer’s sizzlin’ heat

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Posted: Thursday, July 21, 2011 12:00 pm

The summer is a great time of year to relax and have fun, and even though it can require some extra work, it’s important to know how to take care of yourself during the season.

When out and about in the heat, staying hydrated is an absolute must. It’s the key to remaining energetic and healthy during those painfully hot days. Doctors say a great idea is to keep a reusable water bottle or canister in the car and carry one when walking outside.

It’s also important to drink lots of fluids before becoming thirsty and before meals. This can prevent overheating and exhaustion.

Contrary to popular belief, it’s actually a bad idea to drink extremely cold beverages. Chilled drinks are fine, but if the liquid is too cold, it can cause cramps and headaches.

Sunscreen is another integral item that most sunbathers keep in their summer arsenals. Any sunscreen above SPF 15 protects the body from over 93 percent of UVB rays. These rays penetrate the skin’s epidermis, the top layer, which can cause tough skin, brown spots, wrinkles and blackheads.

Bug repellent is another item essential to summer safety. Lotions, sprays, candles and electronic devices can all be used to help keep nasty germ-carrying insects, the most prominent type being mosquitoes, away.

Getting stung is something not many people want to have happen to them, but when it does it’s important to know what to do. If stung by a wasp, hornet or bee, use a cold compress to cool the affected area.

If the insect’s stinger is lodged in the skin, use the edge of a credit card to sweep along the skin and push the stinger out. Squeezing the stinger will only make things worse, since bee stingers contain harmful posion. If a severe allergic reaction or swelling follows, contact a doctor.

As for plants like posion ivy, there’s a rule that people who spend time outdoors can follow to prevent rashes. “Leaves of three, let it be,” is what park rangers say to visitors anytime they’re at a park with heavy plant life, like Forest Park.

What people wear during the summer can also affect their health. In hot weather when the sun shines bright, it’s recommended that people wear light colors, since they attract less sunlight. Sunglasses are important for protecting eyes from ultraviolet rays.

When purchasing sunglasses be sure to look for ones which protect from over 98 percent of UV rays.

If the weather is too hot to handle, the City Office of Emergency Managment has set up cooling centers throughout the boroughs for residents to visit during a heat wave. Most of them are libraries, senior centers and community centers. People can either call 311 and ask for local cooling centers or visit nyc.gov online and check OEM’s page to see which centers are closest to them.

The summer can provide the public with opportunities to improve their health. Not including the days when the temperature is off the charts or the humidity is unbearable, the summer brings some gorgeous weather along with it which encourages people to get up, go outside and be physically active.

˝ogging is one activity people take part in to lose weight. Public parks, designated jogging trails, city side streets and even beaches are all excellent places to jog during the summer. Charles Park in Old Howard Beach, Forest Park in Woodhaven, Alley Pond Park in Bayside and Flushing Meadows Park all have designated tracks for joggers.

If jogging is a little too tiresome, why not try cycling? It’s a great way to tone leg muscles and the abdominal area, and unlike jogging, there’s no impact on your body, meaning no painful joint damage.

Two other activities you can get involved in are swimming and ice skating. At Flushing Meadows Park off College Point Boulevard, visitors will find a combined Olympic-sized swimming pool on one side and a NHL-regulation ice rink on the other.

The World Ice Arena rink is open to the public from 11 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. Monday through Friday. It’s also open Friday from 7 to 9:50 p.m. Admission is $5, and skate rentals are $5 on weekdays and $8 on weekends.

The pool is open to the public from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday. Adults are $10 and seniors over 61 and children under 13 are $5.

For those who own dogs, be sure not to forget about them while enjoying the summer. Walking and running with dogs keeps both the owner and the animal fit. It’s also a great way to spend time and relax with your pets.

Dog runs are public places where owners can take their pets and meet other people and animals while exercising with their dogs in an enclosed area.

Some of the most popular Queens runs are located in Forest Park, near Park Lane South and 85th Street in Woodhaven; Little Bay Park, north of the Cross Island and Utopia parkways in Bayside; Sherry Park, on Queens Boulevard near 65th Place in Woodside; and Cunningham Park, near 193rd Street between Aberdeen and Radnor roads in Fresh Meadows.

Welcome to the discussion.