Picnics, popsicles, swimming pools, and being on the opposite end of the calendar from the frigid bite of winter… what’s not to love about the summer season? However, as thermostats begin to rise this summer, so does the risk of serious heat-related illnesses and injuries. National Heat Safety Awareness day is on May 23, providing us all with a reminder that there are ways to stay safe while enjoying the summer sunshine and activities.
Dr. Sean McCann, DO is a resident practicing family medicine at the Center for Family Care, a Florida Hospital practice located next to Florida Hospital East. Dr. McCann shares tips on how to be safe and sun-smart this summer.
Stay a Step Ahead of Heat Stroke
Anyone who enjoys being active outdoors should also be aware of how to identify indicators of heat stroke. Typically a result of not consuming enough fluids, heat stroke occurs when your body temperature gets too hot. Protect your body from heat stroke by being mindful of the following symptoms:
• Body temperature of 104°F or higher
• Headaches, confusion or trouble thinking clearly
• Skin redness and warmth
• Vomiting or diarrhea
• Muscle cramps or weakness
If you begin to experience these heat stroke warning signs, seek out an area that will cool your body temperature down, drink fluids, and seek medical advice immediately.
This is no reason to be inactive during the summer! It's very important when exercising outside to heed the following advice:
• Try to exercise early, before it gets too hot.
• Try to take breaks when you exercise
• Drink plenty of fluids.
• Stick to water and sports drinks and avoid alcoholic or caffeinated beverages.
• Wear loose, light-weight clothes.
Enjoy The Summer While It Lasts
A few more tips for enjoying a time of fun and relaxation with family. As always, be sure to apply plenty of sunscreen, even on cloudy days! And, don’t forget about your loved ones. In just 10 minutes, a parked car's internal temperature can rise 20 degrees, despite leaving windows cracked open. This can become deadly very quickly – so please be cautious when leaving your car unattended and do not leave pets or family members in a parked car. Finally, keep snacks on hand that provide your body with essential fluids such as watermelon, celery or other items that can help your body stay hydrated, all while enjoying some fun in the sun.