Summer is a great time to get outdoors, go on vacation, and enjoy all the season has to offer. Summer is also a vital time to take precautions on hot days to keep yourself and your family cool and safe. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 600 people in the United States are killed by extreme heat every year. Fortunately, heat-related deaths and illnesses are easily preventable with a few simple precautions.
Common heat-related illnesses include:
- Sunburn – painful, red, and warm skin that may blister.
- Heat cramps – painful muscle spasms that occur due to dehydration and loss of nutrients from excessive sweating.
- Heat exhaustion – when your body loses the ability to cool its core temperature. Symptoms include cool moist skin, goosebumps, heavy sweating, fatigue, rapid pulse, and faintness.
- Heat stroke – a severe form of heat exhaustion that occurs when the body’s temperature exceeds 104°. Symptoms include confusion, red skin, headache, and dizziness.
You can avoid heat-related illnesses and stay safe in the heat and sun by being prepared and following these simple tips:
- Limit your outdoor activity during extremely high temperatures. The sun’s ultraviolet rays are usually the strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- Wear and reapply sunscreen every two hours or more frequently if you’re swimming, sweating, or drying off with a towel.
- Stay hydrated by drinking more water than usual and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink more.
- Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing, hats, and sunglasses that protect your skin and eyes.
- Take breaks from the heat and sun and stay in a shady or air-conditioned location whenever possible.
- Stay up to date on the weather forecast and check for changes throughout the day.