We are getting a little closer to the strikingly hot temperatures of summer, and after losing out on our last summer, we are all ready to head outside (safely) and enjoy the sun. During all the fun we hope to have, we should keep in mind the potential health implications of the heat.
Heat Exhaustion vs. Heat Stroke
If you like to spend a lot of time outside in the sun, you must understand the difference between heat exhaustion and heat stroke so you can choose the correct course of treatment for both.
Heat exhaustion is less serious than heatstroke and it can be treated with a 30-minute cooling down period. You can know you are suffering from heat exhaustion if you have a headache, dizziness, loss of appetite, excessive sweating, cramping, fast breathing, and strong thirst.
On the other hand, heatstroke is much more serious and can have you feeling unwell even after the 30-minute cooldown period, no sweating even when it is hot, fast breathing, confusion, seizures, loss of consciousness, etc. Heat strokes require immediate medical attention.
To avoid both heat exhaustion and heat stroke, you need to drink plenty of cold drinks, take cold showers, wear light clothing, avoid the sun between 11 am and 3 pm, avoid extreme exercise, etc. Children and the elderly are more susceptible to these heat illnesses, so you should keep an eye out.
Choosing the Right Sunscreen
The number one rule when enjoying a day out in the sun is to wear sunscreen. And while there are many options, you should know what to look for when choosing your sunscreen.
- Broad-spectrum protection is something you want for your sunscreen. That protection means that it will guard against both UVA and UVB ways. These two rays are responsible for skin cancer and premature aging. Make sure to get double protection.
- Choosing a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) 30 or higher is preferred. The more protection you get from your sunscreen, the higher the SPF number will be. SPF 15 and below will protect from sunburn but not against skin cancer or skin aging.
- It is important to understand that no sunscreen is waterproof. And if a bottle is labeled “water-resistant”, you want to make sure you know how long that lasts. You should always reapply every 2 hours and even more often when you are swimming.
Getting dehydrated is one of the most common ways you can become ill in the heat. When it is hot, our body begins pumping a higher volume of blood to our skin which causes us to sweat. Our sweat is what cools us off, but if it cannot do its job, then our hearts will have to begin working overtime. To avoid that scenario, you should drink more water to replace all the fluids being lost.
Feeling dizzy, tired, or nauseous are common symptoms of mild dehydration. Fortunately, a glass of water is all you need to fix this. On the other hand, severe dehydration will show itself in much stronger symptoms such as lack of, or dark urination, rapid heartbeat, dry skin, sunken eyes, fever, chills, etc. Severe dehydration requires more immediate medical help. Allowing yourself to be dehydrated for long periods of time can eventually lead to much more serious health complications. So, it is normally recommended to drink at least one glass of water a day, but if you are going to be overexerting yourself in the heat, you should try to drink more.
Some More Quick Tips
- Dress Light- Wear clothes that allow you to regulate your body temperature.
- Protect Your Eyes- You can get major headaches by not guarding your eyes against the sun.
- Eating Summer Friendly Food- Fruits and vegetables are a good way to replenish your energy and keep you hydrated.
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We hope this information on staying cool this summer is helpful.
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