How To Stay Safe This Summer With Eric Baler, PA-C
With summer upon us, remember that hot, humid weather can be a hazard to your health. We live in an incredible place for hiking, biking, running, fishing, and more! And with so much to do outside, we may find ourselves ignoring our body’s response to rising outdoor temperatures. Sweltering heat and high humidity can pose health problems, especially among older people and young children. Too much time in the heat, can lead to heat exhaustion or even heat stroke. The good news however is that heat-related illness and death can be prevented.
When outdoors in the summer heat, be sure to take breaks from time in the sun, especially during the hottest parts of the day (between 11:00am and 2:00pm). Choose loose, light-weight, and breathable fabrics like linen or cotton over synthetics. If you are planning outdoor exercise, consider cooler times of the day like the early morning or late evening.
Drink Plenty of Water
Keeping your body hydrated is an absolute must, especially during the summer months. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids, even if you don’t feel thirsty. In addition to staying hydrated, drinking enough water will also help regulate your body temperature. You might also consider eating water-rich fruits like watermelon, strawberries, peaches, and cantaloupe. These foods can add a fun variety to ensuring your body is properly hydrated this summer.
Be sure to use plenty of sunscreen while outdoors. Beyond using sunscreen at the pool to protect against burns, using sunscreen every day can also reduce your risk of skin cancer. When it comes to selecting the right sunscreen, your best choice is a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF (sun protection factor) of at least 30. A broad spectrum sunscreen will protect your skin against both UVA and UVB rays.
A common problem with sunscreen is that people don’t apply enough of it. You should completely cover your body, including your ears, scalp, feet and neck, and need to apply lots of sunscreen even on cloudy days, because the sun’s UV rays can penetrate clouds. In addition, you should apply sunscreen at least 15 minutes before heading out and reapply every two hours to sun exposed areas.
Watch for Signs of Heat Stress
Always be alert to the symptoms of heat stroke or exhaustion. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include nausea, fatigue, dizziness, weakness or rapid pulse. Someone suffering from heat exhaustion can recover by resting in the shade and drinking cool fluids. Symptoms of heat stroke include seizures, agitation, confusion, slurred speech or loss of consciousness. If someone is suffering from heat stroke, immediately call 911 and soak the person’s clothes with cool water or apply a wet blanket.
Summer is the perfect time to be outside in the sun, but it’s also important to keep summer safety top of mind. As you head out with your friends and family we invite you to follow these simple safety tips to reduce your risk of heat injury. Enjoy your summer plans everyone!