Archive for the 'Health' Category

12
Jul
07

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!

04
Jul
07

Public Service Announcement #2

When it rains in Taiwan, tile walkways get very very slippy.

Should you slip on a tile walkway, goop up the gash with Burt’s Bees green goop, then have it cleaned out with iodine (which stings, considerably.), and such, you should still keep it away from tap water, because it will still get infected as apparently the water (which you should boil in order to drink, and apparently clean wounds with) still has bacteria in it which will turn your gash the color of pus except where it gets red and swollen on the edges.

(Perhaps that was Too Much Info?  Sorry.)

And unlike in the US where they would probably tell you to air it out, they tell you to keep it covered and safe from contamination here.

Perhaps I shouldn’t have made that joke about not getting gangrene– perhaps that was tempting the bacteria?

Oh, and no matter how grown-up you try to be to impress upon your doting parents that you’re truly able to handle yourself as a grown up, they will see through you when they get back from a week’s trip and find you’ve managed to acquire an infected hole in your leg (which I’m totally exaggerating for effect, really).

They will especially be skeptical when you manage to contract a full-on nasty cold while touring some of the most scenic areas of Taiwan.  (Yes, there are now photos of us squinting in the sun in front of various visitor centers, and scenic spots– I’m regretting my charitable wish to allow future generations the pleasure of gleefully cackling over photos of me and wishing I’d revert to the mode of being behind the camera more than in front of it.)




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