Public Service Announcement #3– Hot! Hot! Hot!

According to my Firefox weather bar, it is supposed to be 92 degrees Fahrenheit in Taipei tomorrow.  This is how I remember Taiwan from my visits during summer vacations– when a step outside feels like walking into a steamer, and the sweat shines on your skin before it trickles down your forehead.

Yesterday, at the bottom of Taiwan at Er Lan Be (Or Er Lan Bi?), we were looking at a lighthouse, and sort of rushing through the trails of coastal plants, and such.  I couldn’t catch my breath from hiking through the trails, and apparently my face turned red.  I was soaked in sweat, and finding the images I was trying to take with my camera were blurry.  My mother began discussing the cheerful possibility of heat stroke and all my organs shutting down, as she held onto my arm with an umbrella aloft to shade me.  I was feeling a certain familiar light-headedness and a certain dreamlike stream-of-consciousness contemplation of my mortality as I kept trying to put one foot in front of the other, obediently following the group, and listening to my mother as she made us all stop and get cold drinks and I got a Super Su Pau dripping from a cooler of water that might have once been ice.  My mother and uncle were really great about keeping an eye on me and making sure that the family-photo-taking in the hot sun didn’t exceed three cameras before we got into the shade.

I dunked my head under the faucet by the bathroom, and shed a soaked undershirt (which I’d forgotten to take off in the rush to dress and check out that morning), which helped a bit.  We ended up having to wait while my aunt went on a hunt for the missing keys to the van, and I had a passionfruit slushie, sitting on the steps of a temple around the tourist shops.  A nap in the air-conditioned van was helpful too.  I’m still rather tired and not quite myself just yet.

Anyway, a review of the literature today, and my mother and uncle were right and probably saved me from heat stroke.  I was probably a bit more susceptible to heat exhaustion because I was on meds for my cold and the festering sore on my leg (the circular nature of the visit to Tai Da I-Yuen today I’ll have to chronicle another time).

In any case, please be very careful as the temperatures rise, and you are out adventuring.  Watch for shortness of breath, profuse sweating, headache, crankiness, dizziness, nausea, and a certain dazed feeling.  An excellent article about heat stress is at Making Light.  A short and sweet page geared towards children’s caregivers is here, another for general info is here.  A longer medical article on hyperthermia is here.

Stay safe and cool!


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Free Rice

July 2007
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