Phil Carville: None like it hot |

Phil Carville: None like it hot

By Phil Carville | Special to The Union

The silent killer is at large, and it is time to protect you and your family.

The killer not a person, but rather a temperature “heat dome” (112 in Portland; 117 outside of Vancouver, B.C.; Sacramento/Roseville 111). Forecasts for July and August are also hot.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that even short exposure to high temperatures can cause serious health problems and even death. Effects can appear suddenly. The July 1995 heat wave in Chicago caused 700 deaths. The 2003 summer heat wave in Europe resulted in 70,000 deaths. Scientists predict even more heat waves in the future due to climate change and increased greenhouse gas emissions.


In the early 1960s I was in Marine boot camp in Quantico, Virginia. This was officer training, so the physical component was super rigorous. Each week there were long hikes, 10 to 20-plus miles, with full gear — helmets, rifles, and 40-plus pound packs — running, jogging, marching up and down hills, through streams, bushwhacking our way through the swamps of tideland Virginia. The pace was strict and frequently people would succumb to the heat and fall immobile or pass out.

The Marine Corps philosophy at that time was that a super-conditioned Marine could endure the heat and go without water for extended periods. Not so! Two “conditioned” recruits in our battalion died that summer. The Corps no longer subscribes to that philosophy.


We are talking about heat stroke — a medical condition caused by exposure to high heat and humidity. There are several related conditions: heat exhaustion, heat cramps, heat syncope (fainting), and heat rash. There are more heat-related deaths annually in the United States than deaths caused by tornadoes, earthquakes, floods, and hurricanes combined.


Your body normally self-regulates its internal temperature by releasing sweat which cools as it evaporates… lowering your skin temperature. However, when air temperatures are above 95 degrees Fahrenheit and relative humidity is 35% or greater, sweat will not evaporate quickly and your body can not cool. This can be a medical emergency.

Without additional fluids and electrolyte balances, your body temperature can rise rapidly, causing damage to the brain and other vital organs. If you are 65 or older, overweight, have heart disease, poor circulation or use drugs or alcohol, you are a greater risk, so be careful when exerting outdoors.


These may include throbbing headache; dizziness; lack of sweating despite the heat; hot, dry skin; muscle weakness; nausea; rapid hearth beat; and rapid shallow breathing. If you are experiencing these during a hot day, call 911 immediately.


Here are some commonsense recommendations when you are outside this summer: wear loose and lightweight clothing, drink plenty of water, never leave a person or a pet in a parked car, take precautions with certain medications, get acclimated at high altitudes, and rest during the hottest part of the day.


Despite the heat, you need to continue to exercise, especially if you are a senior. Exercise slows the aging process, lengthens your life span, makes you happier, improves your body composition and can boost brain health. Don’t let a heat wave dissuade you from exercising.

Try walks or slow jogs in Empire Mine Park in the early morning, spend some time at the river, Scotts Flat or Rollins lakes. Work out in air-conditioned environments.

I am believer in summer indoor exercise. Develop an exercise program that is indoors and fun. Attend group exercise classes with friends, use treadmills or elliptical machines, try free weights, get a trainer, or take Yoga or Qi Gong. Finish off your session with a dip in a pool. There are plenty of enjoyable ways to exercise in a 70-degree indoor environment.


Be the “tortoise,” not the “hare,” this summer. Don’t overdo it. Having fun and staying healthy is your priority while being mindful that excessive outside temperatures are dangerous. Climate change is real — 98% of scientists and 70% of the American public believe global warming is caused by man’s activity.

Do not let “your ego” trick you into exercising in the heat. Remember what the great baseball sage Yogi Berra had to say about that, “It ain’t the heat, it’s the humility.”

Phil Carville is a co-owner of the South Yuba Club. He is happy to respond to questions or comments. He can be reached at

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