Excessive levels of heat and humidity are not only uncomfortable, they can also be dangerous. More than 6,000 people are treated across the U.S. in emergency departments each year for heat-related illnesses. It’s important to know how to diminish your chances of experiencing heat cramps, heat exhaustion, or heat stroke. The health experts at Envolve, an integrated healthcare solutions company, have put together these five tips to help you stay safe this summer season.
1. Dress Down. During high temperatures be sure to wear light-colored, lightweight fabrics. Most importantly, choose loose-fitting clothing made of a breathable fabric like cotton to help you maintain cooler body temperature, allow for air flow, and speed the evaporation of sweat, which is your body’s built-in cooling system. You might be tempted to go with your trusty shorts, but covering more skin with loose linen pants can actually help protect you from the sun’s damaging rays.
2. Pick Protection. Sunglasses, hats, and sunscreen are a must in any type of summer weather. However, be extra cautious during extreme temperatures to protect yourself from the heat and sun. Sunburn can dehydrate you further by making it more difficult for your body to cool itself down. To guard yourself against the sun’s rays, make sure to apply broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection sunscreen, wear sunglasses, and don a wide-brimmed hat.
3. Exercise Carefully. During a heat wave, it is important to schedule your time outdoors in short bursts, avoiding the afternoon when temperatures are highest. Reduce your outdoor workouts in hot weather, especially if you are not familiar with exercising in the heat. Slow and steady is the best approach. If your heart begins pounding or you feel like you can’t catch your breath, stop all exercise immediately, especially if you are lightheaded, confused, weak, or faint. Get to a cool or shaded area to rest and let your body recover. Summer is a good time to explore new exercise options that can keep you cool but active. Try swimming or a new indoor class like kickboxing.
4. Hydrate Wholly. Sounds easy, right? Be sure to drink plenty of fluids like water, milk, or coconut water. If plain water isn’t appetizing to you, try adding fresh fruit to your water like sliced strawberries, oranges, lemons, or raspberries for some extra flavor. You can also stay hydrated by eating certain healthy foods such as watermelon, cucumbers, and lettuce, all of which have high water content. As you go about your day be sure to replenish the water you lose through perspiration. When choosing something to drink, especially avoid caffeinated, sugary, or alcoholic beverages, which can actually dehydrate you.
5. Eat Heat. Eating smaller portions more often will also help you keep your energy up during a heat wave. Though hot, spicy food might be the last thing on your mind when the weather is sweltering, these types of dishes might actually help you stay cool. Eating sizzling meals can raise your internal body temperature to match the hot weather, which can cause sweating – your body’s natural cooling method.
About Envolve, Inc.®
Envolve, Inc.® is a family of health solutions, working together to make healthcare simpler, more effective and more accessible for everyone. As an agent for change in healthcare, Envolve is committed to transforming the health of the community, one person at a time.