As summer approaches and temperatures rise, so does the risk of heat-related illnesses. While the summer can be a great time to have fun, the heat can wreck havoc on your body, so it’s important to keep yourself safe from the sun while you enjoy the sunshine.
Here are some summer safety tips to help keep you beat the heat all summer long:
1. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
The more you sweat, the more you need to drink. Be sure to drink throughout the day, not just when you are thirsty and keep an eye out for signs of dehydration: less-frequent urination, dry skin, fatigue, light-headedness, dizziness, confusion, dry mouth and increased heart rate and breathing.
2. Replace Salt and Minerals
Heavy sweating diminishes salt and minerals from your body. These are necessary and must be replaced. A sports beverage (like Gatorade) can replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat.
3. Wear Light Weight Clothing
Choose lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. Sunburn affects your body’s ability to cool itself and causes a loss of body fluids. It also causes pain and damages the skin.
4. Schedule Outdoor Activities Carefully
If you are outdoors, try to limit your strenuous outdoor activities to morning and evening hours before 10:00 and after 4:00. Be sure to rest often in shady areas so that your body’s thermostat has a chance to recover.
5. Pace Yourself
If you’re not used to working out in a hot environment, start slowly and pick up the pace gradually. If exertion in the heat makes your heart pound and leaves you gasping for breath, STOP, find a cool, shady area and rest. Especially if you become lightheaded, confused, or faint.
What are the most common heat-related illnesses?
- Heat Stroke, a serious and potentially fatal illness that can occur when core body temperature tops 104-105F. Symptoms include seizures and confusion, nausea, vomiting, headache and dizziness.
- Heat Exhaustion is less serious than heat stroke but should still be taken very seriously. This results from the loss of fluid or sodium. Signs of heat exhaustion include loss of coordination, dizziness, headache, nausea and persistent muscle cramps. If a person gets heat exhaustion, they should be quickly moved to a cool place out of the sun. They should also rest with their feet elevated and drink plenty of water.
- Heat Cramps are characterized by intense pain and persistent muscle contractions that continue during and after exercise. Heat cramps are treated by drinking water, resting, stretching and eating foods high in sodium.
For more summer safety tips and information you can also visit The Center for Disease Controls (CDC) Extreme Heat Guide http://www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/heat_guide.asp.