It is P-O-O-L weather! I’m sure everyone is eager to make the most of it and partake in all of the activities they couldn’t during the Covid summer of 2020. With the recent heatwave in Texas, I wanted to educate you on ways to make sure you’re staying safe in this heat! It’s important to enjoy the summer, while still remembering the dangers the heat can bring.
1. Drink PLENTY of water. I cannot stress this enough. In the summer when you’re outside and running around doing this and that, it’s so easy to go hours without drinking anything. Make sure you’re getting your recommended 62 ounces of water a day, especially in the summer. To make it easier, you can buy a reusable water bottle (they typically hold about 32 ounces) and just remember to fill it up twice that day and FINISH IT!
2. Wear light-colored, lose clothing. Black clothing absorbs the heat from the sun faster than light colored clothing, so it’s the worst choice of color for a summer wardrobe. Wearing lose clothing allows for air flow and circulation of your body. It also allows air to pass along the skin and exit, speeding up evaporation.
3. Wear sunscreen. Did you know you can see signs of sunburn after only five minutes in the sun? The FDA recommends using a sunscreen with at least SPF 30 in it.
4. Avoid the sun between 10 am and 2 pm if you can. This is the time when the sun is at its most direct. I realize this is the best time for tanning, but if you can plan your outside activities around these times.
5. Avoid excess alcohol. Now, I realize that the upcoming Fourth of July weekend means beers and red, white and blue cocktails, but if you’re going to be in the heat all day drinking, make SURE you drink plenty of water along with alcohol. It’s best to not drink at all, as you become more inebriated when you’re in the heat, but I know that’s not realistic for some people on a holiday. So, please be careful, and drink in moderation, and for each cocktail, drink a glass of water!
6. If you’re overheated, try taking a cool, not cold, shower. Many people would assume that if you’re too hot, an ice-cold shower is the way to go. While it may feel good at first, it can actually be worse for you. Your internal core temperature has no release, so within a few minutes you’ll actually feel hotter than you did before.
I also want to talk about the differences between heat stroke and heat exhaustion. These are things that can happen quicker than you’d think, and could potentially leave lingering problems for years to come. It’s important that if you’re spending a lot of time outside this summer in the heat, especially if you’re in the high risk category (infants, children, and elderly adults) that you can spot the symptoms and know what to do before help arrives.
Heat Stroke Symptoms– Very high body temperature (above 103 degrees F), red, hot, and dry skin (no sweating), rapid, strong pulse, throbbing headache, dizziness, upset stomach, confusion, or passing out.
Treatment- Move to a shady area or indoors. Don’t drink any fluids. Cool the body by placing the person in a cool (NOT COLD) bath or shower, spraying them with a garden hose, sponging with cool water, or fanning. Continue this until help arrives or after their body temperature falls below 102 degrees F and stays there.
Heat Exhaustion Symptoms– Heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache, upset stomach or vomiting, or fainting.
Treatment- Get medical attention if symptoms get worse or last longer than one hour. Cool the body by: drinking cool, non-alcoholic beverages, resting, a cool (NOT COLD) bath, shower, or sponge bath, air conditioning, and wearing lightweight clothing.
Hopefully my tips and tricks help ensure you and your family have a safe and happy summer, and if you’re struggling with any kind of balance issue, pain, or general weakness, make sure to call our clinic at 512-730-0231 so you don’t waste the summer indoors, unable to do the things you’ve waited all year to do!