Spring is in full gear and warmer weather is headed our way. While we’re not quite encountering a heat wave just yet, we can usually count on a hot spell at least once or twice during this season. Furthermore, as we approach summer, rising temperatures in these upcoming months can result in heat-related illnesses that may even be life-threatening.
The most common symptoms of extreme heat exposure are cramping due to loss of water and salt from heavy sweating, heat exhaustion, heat stroke, sunburn and even increased blood pressure.
So is the heat the only culprit? Maybe, but it’s also the change in our lifestyles, too. With daylight becoming longer and the sun out in full effect, people tend to stay out more and engage in physical activities.
For example, exercising (or any type of physical activity, really) in high temperatures puts extra stress on your body, and when you don’t take extra care when exposing yourself to the heat, you risk serious illness since both the activity itself and the ambient temperature around you increases your core body temperature.
To protect your health and well-being in the heat, the key is to always keep cool. Follow these important tips:
- Drink plenty of fluids and don’t wait until you’re really thirsty to drink. If it’s hot outside, you’ll need to increase your fluid intake, regardless of whether you’re jogging outside or just doing chores around the house.
- Wear appropriate clothing and sunscreen. Choose lightweight, light-colored and loose-fitting clothing if at all possible. If you’re going outside, use a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher.
- Limit your outdoor activity to the coolest times of the day: in the morning or evening. Rest often so that your body will get a chance to recover.
- Closely monitor infants, young children, anyone over 65 and pets, as they are more susceptible to heat-related illnesses.
- Stay cool indoors – preferably in an area that’s cooled by an air conditioner, air cooler, evaporative cooler or some sort of fan. If your home has none of these appliances, try going to a mall or public library – wherever it’s cool inside. After all, even a few hours spent in a cool room can help your body stay cooler when you go back outside.
Just remember that sudden changes in temperatures will be stressful on your body. Always stay hydrated, try to limit your physical activity and stay indoors as much as possible!