Stay Safe in the Summer Heat
Hot summer can mean a good time outside at the lake or in the backyard. But, too much of that heat can lead to serious problems. Whether playing or working, here's some tips and info about staying safe.
When it's hot, and especially when it's hot AND humid, our bodies can have a harder time cooling off. Add in some activity and the heat can become too much.
Keeping cool drinking plenty of water are the best ways to protect yourself during hot weather. If you have to work in the heat be sure to drink water, pace yourself and take frequent breaks.
Remember to keep cool and use common sense. Drink plenty of fluid, replace salts and minerals, wear appropriate clothing and sunscreen, pace yourself, stay cool indoors, schedule outdoor activities carefully, use a buddy system, monitor those at risk, and adjust to the environment.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns of four main heat related illnesses: heat exhaustion, heat stroke, heat cramps and heat rash.
Heat stroke is the most serious heat-related illness. It occurs when the body becomes unable to control its temperature: the body’s temperature rises rapidly, the sweating mechanism fails, and the body is unable to cool down. Body temperature may rise to 106°F or higher within 10 to 15 minutes. Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not provided.
Heat exhaustion is a milder form of heat-related illness that can develop after several days of exposure to high temperatures and inadequate or unbalanced replacement of fluids. Those most prone to heat exhaustion are elderly people, those with high blood pressure, and those working or exercising in a hot environment.
Heat rash is a skin irritation caused by excessive sweating during hot, humid weather. It can occur at any age but is most common in young children. Heat rash looks like a red cluster of pimples or small blisters. It is more likely to occur on the neck and upper chest, in the groin, under the breasts, and in elbow creases.
The best treatment for heat rash is to get to a cooler, less humid place and keep the affected area dry.
Heat cramps are muscle pains or spasms – usually in the abdomen, arms, or legs – that may occur in association with strenuous activity. People who sweat a lot during strenuous activity are prone to heat cramps. This sweating depletes the body’s salt and moisture. The low salt level in the muscles causes painful cramps.
Treatment includes stopping all activity and sitting quietly in a cool place. Drinking clear juice or a sports beverage. Continue to rest for a few hours after the cramps go away. If they last more than an hour go to the doc.