Summer is the season that most of us look forward to. Swimming, grilling, walking barefoot on the grass—summer has the power to bring us back to the carefree days of our childhood. But with warmer weather comes some health risks. Sunburn, dehydration, and even heat exhaustion are all important things to think about as you begin your summer celebrations. By reading this guide, you’ll learn some helpful tips about how to beat the heat and stay healthy, even as the temperature rises.
Summer Safety Tips
Even though every heat-related health issue has its own causes, symptoms, and treatments, there are a handful of hot weather safety tips that are great to keep in mind as just general rules to live by. Best of all, most of them are easy to do!
- Drink plenty of water, but avoid alcohol and caffeine to prevent dehydration
- Apply sunscreen to prevent skin damage, sunburn, or sun poisoning
- Avoid direct sunlight for extended periods of time, not only for your skin, but to keep your body temperature at a safe level
- Dress in lightweight, loosely fitting clothing
- Listen to your body and seek a cold environment if you begin to feel ill or faint
By taking these simple precautions, you can avoid serious heat-related health issues, including heat exhaustion and heatstroke.
What Is the Difference Between Heat Exhaustion and Heatstroke?
Heat exhaustion is when the body begins to show signs of overheating before heatstroke sets in. Heatstroke is when the body reaches a temperature of 104 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. Heatstroke requires emergency treatment and can be life threatening—which is why it’s important to take heat exhaustion seriously.
Heat Exhaustion Symptoms
It can be tough to tell if you’re experiencing heat exhaustion because many of the symptoms could be signals of other problems. However, by taking simple steps to find a cooler environment at the first sign of heat exhaustion, you can prevent your body from overheating to the point of being dangerous. Learn to recognize the following heat exhaustion symptoms:
- Muscle ramps
- Pale Skin
- Rapid Heartbeat
It’s important to take the warning signs seriously. If you experience any of these symptoms in relation to prolonged exposure to heat, or if you notice any of these symptoms in someone else, act fast to avoid complications.
Most at Risk for Heat Exhaustion
While it’s true that heat exhaustion can affect anyone, some people are more at risk than others. This includes:
- Senior citizens
- People taking certain medications
- People with heart, respiratory, or other serious conditions
- People who are obese
However, anyone can suffer from heat exhaustion if they are overexerting themselves, especially if they are in a poorly ventilated space. Heat stroke is also common for people who are not accustomed to hot environments. So, no matter how healthy and fit you are, it’s important to know the signs of heat exhaustion and understand how to treat them.
Being able to identify the first signs of heat exhaustion is valuable knowledge. Spotting the symptoms may be able to help yourself or someone else who is at risk of heatstroke. By staying hydrated and protected from the sun, you lower your risk of other common summertime ailments. So, when it comes to beating the heat, remember that it’s not just about comfort, but about staying healthy too.