Ahhh ……the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer….. blue skies, hot sun! As we spend more time outside playing, exercising and working we must keep in mind how dangerous the heat can be if precautions are not taken.
Dehydration and heat exhaustion are two conditions that can occur in hot weather, often without us even realizing it. When dehydrated, our body is not able to produce enough sweat which is needed to reduce our internal body temperature and move the heat out. If sweat is not being made, our body’s core temperature rises which could result in heat exhaustion or heat stroke-two very serious conditions. Symptoms of dehydration may be dizziness, dry mouth, decreased sweating and dark urine.
Once our body is overheated, heat exhaustion can happen. We could experience fatigue, nausea, headache, vomiting and cold clammy skin with excessive sweating. If left untreated, this could lead to heat stroke which is considered to be a life threatening condition.
The good news is that these conditions can be prevented and we can enjoy being outside! Here are some guidelines to follow to ensure healthy and safe outdoor living:
- Stay hydrated; drink every 20-30 minutes. If working or exercising excessively, try sports drinks.
- Use sunscreen.
- If possible, avoid the middle part of the day when the sun is the strongest.
- Dress appropriately in light weight and light colored clothes; also, wear a hat.