Looking forward to sunny days and plenty of outdoor time this summer? Before you make plans to soak up the sun, make sure you’re prepared to deal with the heat. Extreme heat can cause a number of health problems, including heat exhaustion and heat stroke, so it’s important to stay informed about ways to protect yourself from the sun.
1. Drink plenty of fluids
Even if you’re not too active or thirsty, it’s important to drink plenty of fluids. Stay away from sugary or alcoholic drinks while you’re out in the heat, as these can make you even more dehydrated.
2. Replace salts and minerals
A sports drink can replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat, though you’ll want to confer with your doctor if you are on a low salt diet or have a chronic condition, such as diabetes or high blood pressure.
3. Stay cool indoors
Try to stay in air conditioned places as much as possible. If you don’t have air conditioning, spend some time at a shopping mall or a public library. Even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler.
4. Wear the right clothing
Opt for lightweight, light-colored and loose-fitting clothing. For extra protection from the sun, wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.
5. Wear sunscreen
Protect your skin by applying sunscreen that is sun protection factor 15 or higher at least 30 minutes before going outside, and reapply according to package instructions. Look for sunscreens that say “broad spectrum” or “UVA/UVB protection” on the label.
6. Plan outdoor activities carefully
Try to plan outdoor activities when it’s coolest outside, like during the early morning hours or later in the evening.
7. Pace yourself
Cut down on exercise when it’s really hot. If you’re not used to working or exercising in the heat, start slowly and pick up the pace gradually. If your heart is pounding or you’re feeling out of breath, light-headed, faint, weak, or confused, stop all activity and get into a cool or shady area to rest.
8. Don’t leave anyone in a parked car
Cars can quickly heat up to dangerous temperatures, even with a window cracked open. While anyone left in a parked car is at risk, children are especially at risk of getting a heat stroke or dying.
9. Use a buddy system
If you’re working in the heat, buddy up with a co-worker to keep an eye on each other in case you begin to show signs of heat exhaustion or a heat stroke.
10. Watch those at risk
People who are overweight, have chronic conditions, overexert during work or exercise, older adults, infants and young children are especially vulnerable to the heat. Keep a close eye on children, and check on adults living alone at least twice a day.
SOURCE: CDC, [email protected]