When the scorching heat of the summer sun begins to set in, the best thing you can do is to find ways to beat the heat. Regardless of whether you prefer being indoors, or you are the outdoor kind of person, it’s important to protect yourself from the potential dangers high humidity can bring. Heat stroke, for instance, can be lethal and knowing the warning signs is the best way to prevent this.
What is heat stroke?
Heat stroke is referred to as the most serious form of heat injury. It is caused when your body loses the ability to regulate its temperature, due to prolonged exposure to high temperatures in the environment.
Also called sunstroke, heat stroke is a medical emergency that requires immediate cooling of the body. Without this immediate cooling, it can cause damage to the brain which can lead to coma, or even death. Although heat stroke can affect anyone, it generally affects people over 50 years old.
The Telltale Signs of Heat Stroke
- Fainting (this may be the first sign)
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Muscle cramps or weakness
- Fast heartbeat
- Throbbing headache
- Rapid, shallow breathing
If you are experiencing all or any of these symptoms, be sure to inform your caregiver or your family member or call 911 so first aid can be prompted.
Otherwise, do what you can to beat the heat by following these simple, easy, yet very effective strategies:
1. Water, water, water
The more you sweat, the more dehydrated you become. It’s best to create a habit of drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day, but when you sweat, it’s a good idea to drink even more! This is the time to be conscious of how much water you’re drinking to stay hydrated. This gives your body the ability to better regulate its temperature.
When you exercise, try to drink about 4-8 ounces of water every 15 minutes. If you’re working out beyond an hour, important electrolytes are lost, so be sure to replenish them. Sports drinks are a good source of electrolytes.
Extra tip: Take a bottle of water when you’re heading out so you get to hydrate yourself prior to exercising.
Soda or water?
A lot of TV commercials promote soda as the ultimate thirst quencher. But when you’re dehydrated? They actually do the opposite, and further dehydrate the body. There is no better way to hydrate yourself than to drink water!
Instead of hydrating your body, soda does otherwise. Sodas generally contain high levels of caffeine that actually worsen dehydration by making you urinate more. Not to mention the other negative effects of drinking too much soda including weight gain and tooth decay.
2. Dress lightly and loosely.
The trick is to wear loose-fitting, light-weight, light-colored clothing while staying away from dark-colored garments as they tend to absorb the sun’s heat. Sweat-wicking clothing also helps keep the sweat away from your body. Also, don’t forget accessories to help protect you from the sun, such as a hat or a pair of sunglasses!
3. Apply sunscreen lotion.
Although sunscreens all seem the same, some are better than others. So use these tips to choose the right sunscreen product for you.
So what should you be looking for?
Check out the label before buying any sunscreen lotion. Good ingredients to look for include zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Also, oxybenzone is an ingredient to avoid, as it has been associated with hormone disruption.
SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor, which is a number used to determine how long you can stay in the sun before getting sunburned.
For example, let’s say it takes 15 minutes for you to to stay out in the sun before you get a sunburn. If you use a sunscreen lotion with SPF-30, then this would allow you to keep from getting burned for 30 times longer or 450 minutes (7.5 hours). Although this may not be completely accurate, it can give you a general idea if when to reapply your sunscreen should you need to stay in the sun
This may not really be that accurate, but at least you pretty much have an idea as to when to reapply sunscreen should you really need to stay out in the sun for longer periods of time.
The hottest time of the day is between 10 am and 3 pm so if possible, don’t head out within that period. Do your workout at the coolest time of the day so either you do it early in the morning or late afternoon to evening in order to minimize the risk of heat exhaustion.
5. Ice packs on the right places
Place ice packs on the quick-cooling points of your body such as the:
- Insides of your ankles
- Top of your feet
- Behind the knees
The summer heat is here and there’s no escaping. But you can always learn how to beat the heat so you still get to enjoy a relaxed and refreshing day.
What do you do to cool yourself off during hot days? Share your tips with us!