Sailing in Tropical Heat is Not so Cool
Sailing in Tropical Heat is Not so Cool,
Some months ago we have discussed sailing in adverse conditions, in the Northern Oceans that can mean dirty, often extremely cold, conditions and the attendant problems caused including hypothermia.
We note that extremely hot weather conditions carry their own risks and they need to be addressed.
Hot weather conditions and high humidity increase our risk by slowing the dumping of heat to the surrounding air. When the human body produces higher internal temperatures the heart has to work harder, the heart rate increases and blood vessels expand to bring more blood out of our skin where the heat can be released, when this happens less blood becomes available to our muscles and vital organs including the brain.
Extreme heat can increase your chances of succumbing to a heart condition, a stroke, or breathing problems. People with pre-conditions are especially at risk as are young children and elderly people.
Bear in mind that the sun’s rays are UV Radiation which causes skin burns/tanning and some more severe consequences that will need professional treatment. In addition to causing the skin to age faster exposure to the UV Radiation can cause Melanoma which is commonly known as Skin Cancer! The human skin is the largest organ in the human body, cancer of the skin is no joking matter.
Tans, burns, blistering and flu type symptoms of sun poisoning are indicators that your exposure to the sun is putting you at risk. Limiting that exposure in one form or another makes good sense.
How to deal with UV Radiation?
Cover up! Boating in tropical waters, in full sun is fabulous, getting a healthy glow is good and living the outdoor life is one of the supreme joys of life. Using high factor sun screens is a sensible precaution, also bear in mind that some people are more at risk than others.
Wearing clothing to protect our skin works, however, many of us love to throw of the clothing and enjoy the sun, in which case there is a ‘plan B’ – Sun Screen preparations, that work for the exposed areas where a T shirt for example is worn.
SPF – Sun Protection Factor – numbers on sun screen products range from 2 to 100 and refer to the Sun Screens ability to block the burning rays. SPF 30 is the most common level for most people and most skin types. No sunscreen can block all UV rays, but SPF 15 blocks 93% of UVB rays, SPF 30blocks 97% of UVB rays and SPF 50 blocks 98% of UVB rays. If unsure talk with a Pharmacist for advice. Make sure to re-apply sun screen through the day to maintain protection.
A second area of concern is dehydration, in temperate climates dehydration is a problem requiring us to drink plenty of water. Clearly in Tropical climates the requirement is exacerbated. Boaters must carry adequate supplies of potable water with them and ensure that all passengers and crew drink plenty.
In very hot conditions increase your fluid intake, regardless of your activity level. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. During heavy exercise in a hot environment, drink two to four glasses (16-32 ounces) of cool fluids each hour.
Heavy sweating removes salt and minerals from the body. These are necessary for your body and must be replaced. Drink two to four glasses of cool, non-alcoholic fluids each hour. NB. Sports beverages can replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat. However, if you are on a low-salt diet, talk with your doctor before drinking a sports beverage or taking salt tablets.