Picnics, boating, swimming pools, and being on the opposite end of the calendar from the frigid bite of winter… what’s not to love about the summer season? However, as thermostats begin to rise this summer, so does the risk of serious heat-related illnesses and injuries.
National Heat Safety Awareness day is on May 23, providing a reminder to stay safe while enjoying the summer sunshine and activities.
Dr. Devlin O’Connor, DO, a family medicine physician with Florida Hospital Medical Group, shares tips on how to be safe and sun-smart this summer.
STAY A STEP AHEAD OF HEAT STROKE Anyone who enjoys being active outdoors should also be aware of how to identify indicators of heat stroke. Typically, a result of not consuming enough fluids, heat stroke occurs when the body temperature gets too hot.
Protect from heat stroke by being mindful of the following symptoms: • Body temperature of 104°F or higher • Headaches, confusion or trouble thinking clearly • Hallucinations • Skin redness and warmth • Vomiting or diarrhea • Muscle cramps or weakness
If you begin to experience these heat stroke warning signs, seek out an area that will cool your body temperature down, drink fluids, and seek medical advice immediately.
EXERCISE SMART This is no reason to be inactive during the summer, but it’s important to heed the following advice when exercising outside: • Stick to water and sports drinks and avoid alcoholic or caffeinated beverages. • Wear loose, lightweight clothes. • Exercise in the morning while it’s cooler. • Try to take breaks when you exercise. • Drink plenty of fluids. ENJOY SUMMER WHILE IT LASTS As always, be sure to apply and reapply plenty of sunscreen, even on cloudy days.
. In just 10 minutes, a parked car's internal temperature can rise 20 degrees, despite leaving windows cracked open. This can become deadly very quickly – so be cautious when leaving your car unattended and do not leave pets or family members in a parked car. Finally, keep snacks on hand that provide the body with essential fluids such as watermelon, celery or other items that can help a body stay hydrated, all while enjoying some fun in the sun.