With the warmer weather, you may find motivation to get outside and enjoy the sun.

Whether you’re an olympic athlete or a picnic attendee, the extreme heat these days could be dangerous.

A number of young, elderly, and even the middle-aged have been treated at nearby clinics and hospitals for heat exhaustion or even heat stroke.

So, the question is, how can we enjoy the sun and avoid an emergent trip to the doctor?

Here are a few suggestions:

1. Try to avoid the super hot times of the day and hot locations.

The sun is the brightest and hottest between 10:00am and 3:00pm. If you want to avoid the strongest of the heat wave, try to get outside before and after this time.

Also, be sure to avoid hot spots. The shade is your friend on the hottest days. On a hot day, the temperature in your parked car can rise up to 20 degrees in just 10 minutes! Spend the time to let your car cool off before you drive it.

2. Wear sunscreen.

Even if you have a darker complexion, you can still be prone to sunburn. Sunburn can limit the body’s ability to cool itself. Be sure to find a sweat-proof, water-proof sunscreen. Usually an SPF 30 sunscreen is adequate. However, if you’re known to have any previous skin conditions or cancers, please speak with your doctor about whether you may need a stronger sunscreen.

3. Don’t push yourself.

This is not the time to overcome your longest distance or fastest speeds. Wait to break records on a cooler day. Over-exertion can become a potentially dangerous situation in extreme heat. If you feel too tired, nauseous, or any other concerning symptoms, take a breather.

4. Wear the proper clothing.

Light-colored, loose-fitting, 100% cotton clothing helps to reflect the heat away from you.

Wearing a hat may not always be the best fashionable statement, but protecting your head with a brim can keep one of your most vulnerable spots safe.

5. Drink Water.

Drink before you’re thirsty. Thirst is actually the first stage of dehydration. If you’re working out or running, plan to take a drink every 15 minutes. Bring a water bottle with you, or map a route to be where there are water fountains around. Also, avoid alcohol or caffeinated beverages before your trip in the sun. These particular drinks can increase your chances of dehydration.

When you’re sweating, you’re not only sweating out water, but too much sweat will force you to sweat off electrolytes. Electrolytes are important elements in your body such as salts (sodium), potassium, and magnesium. Losing too much of these can lead to signs of heat exhaustion, such as headaches, dizziness, nausea, cramps, tiredness, and potentially heat stroke.

Heat stroke is an EMERGENCY. This is when your body temperature is 104°F or above because the body is no longer able to cool itself off with sweating. Some symptoms include feeling confused, fainting, and no longer being able to sweat.

If symptoms of heat stroke occur, call 911 right away. If not treated quickly enough, heat stroke can cause death.

A Sports Drink, such as Gatorade or Powerade, can help to replenish these electrolytes – especially if you’re exercising for more than 30 minutes during the hottest time of day.

If you or someone you know has signs of heat exhaustion, get them out of the sun immediately, remove or loosen their clothing, and give them a cool drink with electrolytes.

And, please remember to check on your elderly loved ones and neighbors to make sure they are safe.


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