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Keeping cool

Laguna Beach, CA, Letter Carrier Van Singletary

Van Singletary knows how dangerous heat exhaustion can be.

“I’ve experienced it before and it isn’t pretty,” the Laguna Beach, CA, letter carrier says. “You don’t recover from heat exhaustion as quickly as you might think.”

Laguna Beach — often featured on the TV series “Real Housewives of Orange County” — sometimes starts off with cool, foggy days that become sunny and hot by noon.

“When you are working outdoors, you have to be cautious,” he says.

To help co-workers avoid heat-related illnesses, Singletary — who serves as a safety ambassador at his Post Office — offers the following tips:

• Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. “Hydrate during the day, but prepare the night before,” he says. “Start getting fluids into your body. Hydrate a little at a time until you go to sleep. If you start during the day, you’ll be fighting an uphill battle.”

• Dress appropriately. Wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothing. Wearing a hat and sunglasses helps, too.

If you experience difficulty breathing or discomfort as a result of the heat while wearing a face covering, remove the covering until the discomfort ceases.

However, if you decide to remove the face covering, you should practice social distancing when you come into contact with others.

• Don’t forget the sunscreen. “When you have direct sunlight beating on your skin, your skin can take hours to cool off,” he says. “That’s when you’ll experience a mild case of sunburn, so there are days when I’ll also wear sunscreen.”

Singletary also advises colleagues to be aware of the challenges presented by humidity.

“Humidity can be deceiving because the sun may not be out, but you are continuously sweating and lose as much or more fluids as being out in the blazing, hot sun,” he says.

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