Use these tips to prevent heat exhaustion and keep your loved ones safe from the unprecedented Summer heat this year. These tips to prevent heat exhaustion can help you keep yourself, friends and family safe from the dangers of overheating during Summer activities.
When our body temperature rises dangerously, excessive sweating, nausea, vomiting and headache are signs that the heat is putting stress on our bodies. At risk are the elderly and the very young, those who have to work outside and folks enjoying their Summer vacations with increased outside physical activity. People who take certain medications are more susceptible to heat stress.
Heat stress takes a toll on our bodies and can lead to heat exhaustion or worse, heat stroke. Sports drinks help, but you can do more prevent heat exhaustion for yourself and your loved ones. Here are some tips to prevent heat exhaustion from advancing into heat stroke.
Remember that the best way to prevent heat illness is to be prepared. Hydration, cooling, shade. Those are the best places to start.
What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Heat Exhaustion?
You can prevent heat related illness when you know the signs and symptoms.
Keep an eye on your friends and family when enjoying the outdoors in the summer. If you can, try to have a someone keeping an eye out for you too, in case you don’t recognize the symptoms of heat related illness early enough.
Watch for the following signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion:
- Excessive sweating, much heavier than usual for the individual
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Dark colored urine (indicating dehydration)
- Fainting, dizziness
- Rapid heart beat
- Increased body temperature (seems like a low grade fever)
- Weakness or fatigue
- Excessive thirst
Stay safe this summer: How to avoid heat-related illness
This video has some excellent information on the 3 main heat-related illnesses, how to avoid them and how to treat them, especially heat exhaustion.
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Tips For Preventing Heat Exhaustion
Because of the dangers of heat related illness going quickly from heat stress to heat exhaustion to the extremely dangerous heat stroke, it’s much safer to avoid strenuous physical activity during the hottest part of the day. Know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke so that you can recognize when someone is in trouble. You can also try these suggestions for preventing heat related illness.
- Get out of the heat. The most obvious way to prevent heat exhaustion is also the most important. Get indoors into air conditioning or in front of a fan, but definitely out of the heat and sun. The hot sun, hot temperatures and high humidity can keep increasing your body temperature. High humidity interferes with the body’s ability to cool itself by sweating.
- Keep hydrated. Drink sports drinks to replace essential electrolytes, if you’ve been heavily sweating. Sweating causes loss of salts and minerals like potassium. Drink water too, especially if your urine is dark and strong smelling. Both water and sports drinks like Gatorade should be available when working outside.
- Avoid strenuous physical activity during the hottest part of the day. Generally speaking, this can be the hours between 1:00 and 5:00 p.m., depending on your location. Reserve lawn mowing or jogging for early morning or late evening.
- Wear light colored clothing outside and cover your head with a hat, if possible. Try lightweight loose-fitting cotton t-shirts and wide brimmed hats.
- Take frequent rest breaks. Either step into an air conditioned building or at least find some shade where you can cool down…and keep drinking fluids.
- Avoid alcohol and caffeinated drinks as they can encourage dehydration. Sports drinks contain the necessary carbohydrates, electrolytes, etc., that our bodies need to keep hydrated.
Tip: You could make a simple “kit” of items you can use to cool down, rehydrate, make shade, etc. This kit can be as small or as big as you need, depending on your activity. Runners and swimmers have waterproof pouches for keeping cell phone, keys, money, etc. dry. Try one of those! Carry some packets of sports or electrolyte powder, electrolyte tablets, a cooling patch, and anything you can use for cooling off.
Easily Make Some Shade
There are bunches of products for creating shade and most of them are portable. Whatever your activity, you can find a quick, easy and light way to make some shade.
Kids and Heat-Related Illness
Resources To Learn More About Preventing Heat Exhaustion
- Heat exhaustion: First aid Heat exhaustion is one of the heat-related syndromes, which range in severity from mild heat cramps to heat exhaustion to potentially life-threatening heatstroke.
- How to Avoid Heat Exhaustion A lot of athletes exercise in hot weather and sometimes in extreme heat. Signs of heat exhaustion often begin suddenly. The combination of heat, heavy perspiration, and inadequate fluid intake takes away your body’s ability to cool itself and your internal temperature starts to rise, sometimes as high as 104°F.
- Tips for Preventing Heat-Related Illness Heat related deaths and illnesses are preventable. Despite this, around 618 people in the United States are killed by extreme heat every year.
- Heat Exhaustion Heat exhaustion is a heat-related illness that can occur after you’ve been exposed to high temperatures, and it often is accompanied by dehydration.
How To Treat Heat Exhaustion
Treating heat exhaustion early can prevent heat stroke. Anyone suffering from heat stress could quickly become a heat exhaustion or heat stroke victim.
- Lower the body temperature by sitting in a cool shower and/or use ice packs to the temples and neck area to help cool the body’s core body temperature. Cooling down the body temperature can help prevent heat related illness from progressing to heat stroke.
- Rehydrate. Sports drinks are intended to replace water and salts lost through sweating. Keep cold sport drinks on hand, especially if engaging in strenuous physical activity.
- Remove any tight and/or extra clothing.
- Have the person lay down with their legs elevated above the level of their heart. Rest for at least 30 minutes.
- If symptoms do not improve, or worsen, call 911.
Help save a life by taking steps to prevent heat exhaustion. The steps involved are easy. Know what they are. The life you save could be your own!
How Are You Keeping Cool This Summer?