Having Fun and Keeping Cool: Avoiding Heat Related Illnesses


Fun in the sun is great! But, sometimes it gets too hot to handle, so we need to be careful about how hydrated we are and keeping cool.

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With beach season here this Memorial Day weekend, we all need to take precautions before going out into the sun. Sunscreen and sunglasses are only two parts of what we need to do to keep our body safe this summer. Keeping cool this summer is a very important part of your summer fun.

NOAA warns that excessive heat is very dangerous. If your body's internal temperature gets too high to quickly, it can be very dangerous and getting your body temperature down can be a longer process. Heat related illness include:

  • Heat Cramp: Painful muscle cramps in leg or abdomen.
  • Heat Stroke: Altered mental state, throbbing headache, high temperature, rapid pulse, and unconsciousness. 
  • Heat Exhaustion: Heavy sweating, weakness, weak pulse, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and fainting. A normal internal temperature is still possible.

If you exhibit any of these symptoms, you must seek medical attention! Heat stroke and heat exhaustion are dangerous and can lead to death. Be sure to avoid any of those heat related illnesses by following some simple cooling methods:

  • Reschedule: Try to plan events to be at the cooler times of day as to avoid mid-day when it can be the hottest part of the day.
  • Dress Light: It is summer time, wearing heavy clothes can increase body temperature. Also, wearing white or brighter colors is reflect the sun light unlike darker clothes which will absorb heat.
  • Drink Plenty of Water: This is key to keeping cool. This prevent your body from getting dehydrated and susceptible to heat related illnesses. Note that alcohol and caffeinated drinks do not help with hydration.
  • Excessive Heat Periods: NOAA advises that you should seek an air conditioned location during excessive heat periods. 
  • Don't Get Too Much Sun: Find a shady area and be sure to wear sunscreen! Sun safety is a very important part of keeping cool!

Additionally to these heat safety tips, never leave a child, dog, or disabled person in a vehicle during excessive heat periods. This is very dangerous as these individuals may not be able to get out. Even if it is just a minute, do not allow these to develop a heat related illness.

As long as you keep these simple tips in mind, everyone will have an enjoyable and safe summer.

What is your favorite summer activity? How will you keep cool this summer? Tell us in the comments below!