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Health Education Blog

Tips For Staying Cool In The Summer Heat (and Signs You're Becoming Overheated)

Posted by Staff on June 21, 2017

thermometer and water bottlesMany people look forward to the summer. During the summer you can enjoy the beautiful weather outdoors, the days are longer, and there are plenty of fun things to do. The only complaint that people have during the summer is that it can get too hot. When the temperature reaches the 90's and the 100's, it can be very difficult to get comfortable. It can also be dangerous. If you are not careful and you don't keep yourself cool, your body can overheat, which can be very dangerous and even deadly.

Signs Your Are Becoming Overheated

According to WebMD, there are a few heat-related illnesses that you should watch out for. Some are minor and can be treated with water and sitting in a cool, air-conditioned room. Some are more serious and would require immediate medical attention.

Heat Cramps: Heat cramps are not serious and they can be easily treated before they develop into something more serious. Heat cramp symptoms include:

  • Severe cramps in the hands, calves, or feet

  • Tense, hard muscles

Heat Exhaustion: Heat exhaustion is more serious than heat cramps, however, it can be treated at home without the need for medical attention. Heat exhaustion symptoms include:

  • Nausea

  • Fatigue

  • Excessive thirst

  • Headache

  • Muscle cramps

  • Muscle aches

  • Weakness

  • Drenching sweats followed by cold, clammy skin

  • Dizziness

  • Fainting

  • Slow heartbeat

  • Confusion

Heat Stroke: Heat stroke can be very dangerous and even deadly. If you are suffering from the symptoms of heat stroke, you would need medical attention immediately.

If you are suffering from any of the following symptoms, you should contact Orchard Hospital's Medical Specialty Center - Your Everyday Health Care Clinic. The professionals at Orchard Hospital can also treat your for heat stroke and potentially save your life. Heat stroke symptoms include:

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Headache

  • Dizziness

  • Fatigue

  • Dry, flushed, hot skin

  • Rapid heartbeat

  • Inability to sweat

  • Shortness of breath

  • Decreased urination or blood in the urine

  • Temperature between 104 and 106 degrees

  • Confusion or delirium

  • Loss of consciousness or convulsions

heatstroke infographic ThinkstockPhotos-675818642.jpg

The best defense that you have against heat-related illnesses is to stay cool when the weather heats up. There are a few tips that you can follow to stay cool when the temperature outside isn't.

Tip #1 Wear the Right Clothing

What you wear when it is hot outside can keep you cool. Dark colors will attract the heat, increasing your body temperature. You should stick with loose-fitting, light-colored clothing. Also, cotton clothing will keep you cooler than most synthetics.

Tip #2 Stay Hydrated

If you remain hydrated, you can keep your body temperature down. According to the Mayo Clinic, dehydration occurs when you lose more fluids from your body than you are taking in. This happens often when you are in the heat, sweating. During the summer, you should drink plenty of water. If you are going to be outdoors, you should keep a bottle of water in the freezer. As the ice melts, you will have a supply of cold water. Drinking sports drinks that are high in electrolytes are also very beneficial.

Tip #3 Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine

If you are going to be out in the hot sun, you should avoid drinking alcohol and caffeine as they both can cause you to become dehydrated.

Tip #4 Alter Your Outdoor Exercise Regimen

If your exercise regimen includes jogging or walking outdoors, you should change your exercise times to early in the morning or late in the evening. If you cannot change your exercise schedule, you should consider going to the gym on a hot day or buying a treadmill or an elliptical for your home to use on hot days.

Tip #5 Stay Indoors

When the temperature outside gets too hot, it is best to stay indoors. If you don't have air conditioning in your home, you could make plans to spend the hottest time of the day in a public place that is cool such as the mall, the movie theater, or the library.

Tip #6 Avoid Eating Hot Foods

On a hot day, you should trade in a hot meal for a cool salad. Not only will this keep you cooler, it will keep your home cooler. When you are cooking, the heat from your stove or oven can raise the temperature in your home.

Tip #7 Wear a Hat

When you are out in the hot sun, it is important to keep your head covered. As an added precaution, soak your hat in water before putting it on. This will keep your body temperature from rising on a hot day.

Tip #8 Take a Cool Bath or Shower

If you are extremely hot and you are worried that you are suffering from a heat-related illness, you should take a cool bath or shower as soon as you get home. This will lower your body temperature, preventing a dangerous situation.

Tip #9 Store Your Lotions in the Refrigerator

When you first get out of the shower, you can feel hot and your body temperature will go up as well. To cool down after a hot shower, you should store your lotion in the refrigerator. This will cool your skin down when you apply it.

Tip #10 Use Common Sense

On a hot day, you should use common sense before you make plans. Avoid outdoor activities, especially the ones that keep you in the hot sun or on hot asphalt surfaces. Don't take any unnecessary risks when it comes to spending time outdoors on a hot day.

Most people don't understand how serious heat-related illnesses can be and how quickly they can come on. It is important that you know the symptoms of heat-related diseases so that you can get treatment. It is even more important to know how to keep cool in the summer to avoid falling ill in the first place.  

Our mission at Orchard Hospital is to provide our community with superior health care. We strive to ensure that your experience at Orchard Hospital is as pleasant and comfortable as possible. Our priority is to provide you with the care you need when you need it, with skill, compassion, and respect. 

Topics: Healthy Lifestyle, Prevention

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