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How to Beat the Summer Heat

06-18-2015

Tips On How to Protect Yourself in the Summer Heat

The temperatures are scorching, it’s humid and the air conditioning won’t stop running. Wait, we’ve been waiting for this all year long—summer, that is! If you’re not careful, summer’s heat can sneak up on you and can be dangerous to your health. The best defense for summer heat is prevention. Follow these helpful tips from Dr. M. Jay Petruska at CaroMont Family Medicine-Belmont to keep you and your loved ones happy and healthy this summer!

Drink Up.

Regardless of your activity level, you need to drink lots of fluids. Minimize your intake of alcohol and beverages that are carbonated or contain caffeine when temperatures are high, as they can cause you to lose more fluid and can lead to dehydration. Common signs that you are dehydrated are: dry mouth, fatigue, decreased urine output, urine that is darker than normal, headache, dry skin and dizziness. If you experience any combination of these symptoms, seek immediate medical attention.

Stay Cool.

Getting overheated can be serious in any situation, especially during summer when temperatures are up in the triple digits. Heat stroke and heat exhaustion are particularly threatening to people who work outdoors, young children and older adults. If you’re able, stay indoors where it’s cooler and air conditioned. If you don’t have air conditioning, go to a shopping center or public space to keep your body cool even if it’s only for a few hours.

If you can’t avoid being outdoors, seek shaded areas. Limit your outdoor activity to morning and evening hours and if you’re exercising outside, drink plenty of fluids (2-4 glasses of non-alcoholic beverages every hour). Some sports drinks are good and can help to replace the salt and minerals you lose when you sweat, but talk to your doctor first, particularly if you’re on a low-salt diet.

Wear Protective Gear

It’s never a good idea to forgo sunscreen if you’re planning to be outside—no matter your skin type. Direct exposure to the sun can be harmful, especially during the middle part of the day. Wear sunscreen that contains an SPF of 15 or higher and opt for lotions that are labeled “broad spectrum” or UVA/UVB protection.” For added protection, wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses to protect your face and eyes. It’s also best to wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing to stay cool.

Watch Out for Each Other

Anyone can suffer from a heat-related illness, but some people are more vulnerable. Older adults, children and those who already have a medical illness, especially people with heart disease or high blood pressure, are at a greater risk for heat-related illness. Make a point to make extra visits (twice a day) to see older adults if they’re living alone to watch for signs of heat stroke or exhaustion. Children require more frequent supervision. Never leave anyone in a parked car during periods of high summer heat, and this includes animals. During hot weather, heat build-up in a closed or nearly closed car happens quickly and intensely to temperatures over 120 degrees. Children and pets can die from heat stroke in a matter of minutes when left in a closed car.

Categories: Health