The Drawback to Summer is the Heat
Despite the heat, most people think of Summer as their favorite time of year. They spend lots of time outdoors on leisure activities like exercise, yard work or just enjoying the fresh air while lazing around a pool.
The drawback to summer is the never ending, unrelenting presence of heat. It blazes when we wake up and it is still steaming when we turn in. We must take care when the temperatures rise to well over 90º. When you are outdoors, do not forget to cover yourself in sunscreen. Wear light colored, loose fitting clothing. If you are working or exercising outdoors, take plenty of breaks and drink water frequently. DO NOT drink caffeinated or alcoholic beverages. They may taste good but they do nothing to replace lost hydration.
Cramps caused by very high temperatures usually happen when you are physically active. They are marked by muscle pain and tightness.
To recover, massage the affected area and drink water or a sports drink like Gatorade every 15 minutes.
Heat exhaustion is marked by a dizzy feeling along with headache, irritability, pale skin, sweating, and sometimes fainting or nausea. If fainting or nausea occur, seek medical assistance. In the case of nausea, do not drink anything until the nausea subsides. Then drink water or a sports drink every 15 minutes. Apply cool compresses to the forehead, neck, chest and limbs.
Heat stroke displays the same symptoms as heat exhaustion plus a physical temperature over 105º, irrational behavior, confusion, rapid shallow breathing, rapid weak pulse. A heat stroke may also include seizures or loss of consciousness. Anyone with these symptoms should be seen by a medical professional immediately. Use cool compresses on the neck, forehead, chest and limbs accompanied with ices cubes in those areas.
Water is Your Friend
During summer heat waves, pace yourself when outdoors. Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Stay away from drinks containing alcohol or caffeine.
Remember, pets feel the heat just like we do. Be sure they are in a cool place and have plenty of water to drink. Look in on elderly friends and neighbors as they are at additional risk.
Editor’s Note: We originally published this article in July 2013. We have edited it for freshness, accuracy and comprehensiveness.