When the sun is bright in the sky, it’s like a magnet drawing us outdoors. But those inviting rays can come with some dangerous temperatures. Sure, it’s supposed to be hot in summer, but extreme heat and heatwaves aren’t just uncomfortable; they can be life-threatening.
Before you head outside when the temperatures start to soar, here’s a look at summer weather and how to stay safe when the mercury skyrockets.
What to do During a Heatwave
Just because it’s hot doesn’t mean you have to stay inside, but you should take precautions to stay safe when temperatures are high. Know the symptoms of heat-related illness and take these steps:
Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of fluids, even if you’re not thirsty. Avoid drinks with caffeine, alcohol, or lots of sugar.
Dress: Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing. Consider wearing cotton, which absorbs extra moisture and helps your body cool down.
Rest: Limit outdoor activity to morning and evening hours when it’s cooler. Rest often in shady areas. Don’t overexert yourself. Your body will tell you when it’s time to take a break, so listen.
Slather: Wear sunscreen, sunglasses, and a loose-fitting hat. Sunburn can impact your body’s ability to cool off and can contribute to dehydration.
Eat light: Eat small, light meals, and eat more often. Heavy meals add more heat as your body works harder to digest them.
Friendship: Use the buddy system when working or exercising in the heat. Don’t leave pets outside or in cars. Check on people you know who are sick or elderly; they are most likely to have problems from the heat.
Get wet: If you know you’re going to be outside for a while, soak your shirt, hat, or a towel in cold water and use it to keep cool outside. This works whether you’re gardening or hiking. Just use the hose or a nearby creek to keep wet.
Knowing Heat Exhaustion:
Signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion may develop suddenly or over time, especially with prolonged periods of exercise. Possible heat exhaustion signs and symptoms include: Cool, moist skin with goosebumps when in the heat, Heavy sweating, Faintness, Dizziness, Fatigue Weak, rapid pulse, low blood pressure upon standing, Muscle cramps, Nausea and Headache. If you think you’re experiencing heat exhaustion: Stop all activity and rest, Move to a cooler place, drink cool water or sports drinks.
Knowing Heat cramp:
Heat cramps are the intermittent, involuntary spasm of muscles that occur in an individual who is physically active (for example, working or exercising) in hot or humid weather. They are often associated with dehydration. Heat cramps usually affect the major muscles that are being stressed in the hot environment. Usually, these are the thigh and leg (quadriceps, hamstrings, and gastrocnemius), the core muscles (abdominal wall and back), and the arm muscles (biceps, triceps). Heat cramps can also occur after the activity has been completed. Treatment of heat cramps includes tests, cooling the body, hydration, and stretching the muscles that are cramping. Heat cramps can be prevented by avoiding exercise or work during the heat of the day, drinking plenty of fluids, and resting in cool or shaded areas when possible.