Summer 101: How to Beat the Heat!
By: Alexandra Nguyen
Alexandra Nguyen is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s of Arts in Journalism at Loyola Marymount University. From a young age, she has had a passion for writing, which later developed into focusing on how her words can make an impact on the world. The world of healthcare was exposed to her through her volunteer work at the Veterans Affairs Hospital in Palto Alto. Working
side-by-side with patients and doctors, this role gave her a glimpse into public health. Alexandra combines her passions and experiences writing for Today’s Patient to educate society on lesser-known topics, especially those affecting young adults.
Every year, many people fall victim to the super strong summer sun that has the power to penetrate the skin causing an array of undesired effects. As the summer months are approaching and the temperatures are rising, promoting healthy heat preventative habits into daily routines can help enjoy the warmth without risk.
Heat related illnesses can be affected by various factors, like amount of time in the sun, age, heart disease, or dehydration; all play a quintessential role in someone’s reaction to the heat. Those at the biggest risk are infants and adults over 65 years old.
1. Staying Hydrated
Some of the most common heat related illnesses include dehydration or sunburn. That is why water and sunscreen are the two most important things to always carry during the summer months. Hydration begins in the morning, waking up and drinking a glass of water to start off your day. Maintaining that hydration throughout the day will ensure that dehydration causes headaches or nausea do not occur. When going outside or working out, it is especially important to drink even more water than one normally would. With that, sunscreen keeps the skin safe from the powerful penetrative sun rays. Spending time in the sun should be done so safely, with sunscreen that will fight UVA/UVB rays and pollution.
2. Change Your Normal Habits
Changing normal routines is another way to beat the heat. For instance, rather than exercising from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., exercise in the morning, after the sun goes down, or inside. Sweating under the summer sun amplifies potential sun related illnesses, but this simple change will help. Regularly cooling yourself off, with a cold compress, stepping into the shade, or taking cool showers after being in the sun. While out and about, wearing loose light colored clothing will also help alleviate feelings of overheating and will keep you cooler than wearing darker colored clothing. Alongside light colored clothing, wearing a hat and sunglasses help to maintain a cooler body temperature. Tracking the daily temperature, on websites like the CDC, will help one stay informed on potential heat risks by knowing how to prepare for the weather.
3. Know the Possible Risks
The summer months have the highest rates of sun related illnesses, and each year that number increases. Such illnesses also include heat rash, heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke, all of which can be reduced by taking preventative measures. Heat rash may look like red blister clusters on the skin that can be treated by staying cool and using powder. Heat cramps are muscle pains or excessive sweating that are resolved by stopping the movement, drinking electrolytes to rehydrate, but should be given professional attention if they persist for over an hour or if you have heart problems. Heat exhaustion symptoms include clammy skin, sweating, and dizziness which can be treated by a cold compress and shade unless symptoms get worse if you begin throwing up, then medical help is suggested. Heat stroke is the most serious and severe manifesting in a high body temperature, a strong pulse, and losing consciousness in which 911 should be called.
As temperatures are beginning to climb, it is important to learn the ways that you can beat the heat and the warning signs to be aware of for heat related illnesses.