How to Avoid Heat Stroke and Heat Exhaustion

The Desert can be Beautiful but Deadly - It is Easy to Develop Heat Exhaustion or Heat Stroke

If you play golf or engage in other sports in the summer heat, use a cart or take other steps to go easy on yourself.  You can become overcome by heat quickly.
If you play golf or engage in other sports in the summer heat, use a cart or take other steps to go easy on yourself. You can become overcome by heat quickly. | Source

Excessive Heat Can Be Dangerous - Even Life Threatening

My husband was playing golf in a golf tournament in Palm Springs a few years ago in June. When he came back to our hotel room, his skin was clammy and he had stopped sweating. He had a horrible headache. I immediately had him drink water, get in the shower, and then take a nap. Afterwards, I had him drink more water and stay in the cool air-conditioned room. When he began to feel better, I also had him go to the spa and get a massage. He was suffering from heat exhaustion and, if he had stayed outdoors much longer, he could have easily have had a heat stroke.

Suffering from heat exhaustion or heat stroke can pose a serious medical emergency. Most of us have experienced the symptoms of heat exhaustion from time to time. You may begin to feel tired, weak and very dehydrated. You may sweat excessively. Eventually, you may even cease to sweat and become nauseous, as you become in danger of heat stroke. You may feel dizzy. All of these are signs of a dangerous increase in your core body temperature.

Fortunately, you do not have to fall victim to heat stroke, even in hot summer weather. There are steps you can take to protect yourself, even when the dog needs to be walked, or you have to work or want to play outside.

We all have to be realistic about our limits and take reasonable precautions. To ignore the danger is simply foolish.

This Special Bandana is Perfect to Have on Hand in Hot Weather

Ergodyne Chill-Its 6700CT Evaporative Cooling Bandana with Cooling Towel Material - Tie, Solid Blue
Ergodyne Chill-Its 6700CT Evaporative Cooling Bandana with Cooling Towel Material - Tie, Solid Blue

The first time I tried one of these, I was walking with a friend on a hot day. When I complained that the heat was starting to get to me, she took off her chilled bandana and put it around my neck. Within minutes, I felt much better. If you spend much time outside in the heat, you should consider using one of these.

 

Reduce Exposure to Direct Sunlight

The first thing you need to do to keep your body cool in extreme heat, and avoid heat stroke or heat exhaustion, is to spend as much time in the shade as possible. A heat wave is not the time to work on your tan! Even if you slather on sunscreen to protect your skin from the harmful effects of the sun (which is highly recommended to prevent sun damage) the direct sunlight can still make you feel weak, dizzy and, in extreme cases, nauseous. Don’t let your body heat up unnecessarily.

If you must work outdoors in the summer, avoid heat stroke and heat exhaustion by starting work early, and ending early. Heat is cumulative. The longer you are out in the heat of the day, the harder it will be on your body.

Next, create your own shade. Wear a hat or, if you are engaging in a sport like golf, ride in a cart. Protect yourself as much as possible from the sun and take it easy on yourself. Do not try to do too much, especially in the heat of the day.

The summer sun is not something to be taken lightly. Treat it as seriously as if you were swimming in shark infested waters. It can be that dangerous.

Here's a Cooling Cap When It is Hot Outside

RealxGear Cooling Cap, Black
RealxGear Cooling Cap, Black

Similar to the neck bandana, this hat will also keep you cool. In addition, it has the added benefit of shading your face. This is idea for golfers or people who must work outside on hot days.

 

Drink Plenty of Water

It is very important that you stay hydrated when you are outdoors during a heat wave. Drinking plenty of water to avoid dehydration is essential if you want to protect yourself from heat stroke and heat exhaustion! You can also drink some sports drinks, especially if you have been sweating. They'll help replace your lost electrolytes. Do NOT drink coffee, caffeinated energy drinks or sodas. They will not help you as much as plain water.

Swimming is a Great Way to Cool Down

Putting water on the outside of your body can also protect you from heat stroke and heat exhaustion. Drape a wet towel around your neck. Rinse off your face and arms from time to time. You may also want to end the day with water, too! Take a swim or a shower. They will both help you cool off comfortably.

The important thing to remember is to not let yourself become hot, dry and dehydrated. Laying on the beach, sunbathing, is a dangerous way to end up with heat stroke or heat exhaustion ... and the people sitting around you may not even realize it, since you are lying down. If you must sunbathe, cool yourself off with water and limit your time as much as possible. In addition, don't work out in the sun without taking steps to cool your body off from time to time. It's far too risky.

Whether you use a wet towel to cool off or you go for full immersion in a pool, make sure you are keeping yourself cool whenever you are spending time outdoors on a hot day.

Summing Up the Ways to Prevent Heat Exhaustion

In addition to spending time in the shade, drinking water, and going for a nice swim, there are other tips that can help you stay cool in the summer.

Use sunscreen to protect yourself from sunburns. Getting a burn will only make it harder for your body to cope with the heat, and can also make you more vulnerable to heat stroke or heat exhaustion.

Take it easy. A heat wave is not the time to work your hardest. Heat stroke and heat exhaustion can make you very ill and, in extreme cases, even kill you! Relax and live to enjoy another day!

More by this Author


Comments 27 comments

mommyloves2write 4 years ago

Lots of great tips!


Deborah-Diane profile image

Deborah-Diane 4 years ago from Orange County, California Author

Thank you. I hope they will save a life!


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

Nice tips. Drinking buttermilk, coconut water and lime water also will reduce heat stress.


Deborah-Diane profile image

Deborah-Diane 3 years ago from Orange County, California Author

That makes a lot of sense. Those beverages are sure to be healthier than Gateraide. Thanks for the suggestions!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas

Here in Texas, it's nothing for summer temps to reach 110-118 degrees F. If I have to cut the grass, I soak a towel in cold water and wear it around my neck while I'm following the mower. I can use it to wipe the hot and the sweat off periodically, and it feels so good afterward if there's a breeze.

I and a friend both noticed that going inside where the temp is only 80-85 degrees after being outside in the full sun where the temp is closer to 110 can be very hard on one's body. In my case, I had been inside only seconds when I lost all energy and became weak and confused. I thought I was going to pass out and it was nearly an hour before I came out of it.

I learned that it helped to have something to eat before going out in the hot sun for long periods of time. Not a lot, but maybe just a small sandwich or something. Also, I learned to turn the thermostat UP around 95 or so just before going outside so that it wouldn't be so cold (comparatively) when I went back inside the house.

The same thing happened to my friend regularly after working outside all day. He would get inside his vehicle to go home after work and turn on the a/c full blast after being in the full sun for 10 or so hours with afternoon temps in the 100s. Immediately he would get weak and nearly pass out. Not a good condition to be driving on I-35 north of Dallas.

I recommended he not turn the a/c on right away but let the wind blowing through the open windows cool him down a little first so that instead of shocking his body by going from 110 or more degrees to only 75 or so, he would gradually cool himself down. Keep the a/c on low for a few minutes after the windows before turning it on full blast. That helped him and he stopped having such a drastic shock reaction to immediate cool temps.

Heat exhaustion isn't something to take lightly. It can kill you. So if you're regularly having to deal with HOT like we have in Texas, it's important to learn how to deal with it.

This is an important hub and I hope everyone who will be spending time in high summer temps will read it!


Deborah-Diane profile image

Deborah-Diane 3 years ago from Orange County, California Author

This is a fabulous and informative comment, and I really appreciate it. My husband and I raised our family in Texas for 25 years before moving here to California. I know exactly what you are describing, because I used to feel weak when I would go into the air conditioned house after being outside. I wish I had know about your suggestion at that time. I'm sure a lot of people will benefit from it, now!


moonlake profile image

moonlake 3 years ago from America

Good information it is so easy to get heat stroke. I have lived in Texas, Arkansas and California all hot places but it can also happen here. It did happen to my friend while she was working in a green house. Voted up.


Deborah-Diane profile image

Deborah-Diane 3 years ago from Orange County, California Author

Thank you for sharing your knowledge of heat stroke. It is very dangerous. Many people do not realize that they can die as a result of it!


moonlake profile image

moonlake 3 years ago from America

Pinning this good information to my health board and sharing.


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 3 years ago from Nashville Tn.

Thanks for these good tips to avoid heat stroke. I do lots of walking and will start carrying a bottle of water. Sharing.


Deborah-Diane profile image

Deborah-Diane 3 years ago from Orange County, California Author

So many people overdo it in the summer and end up with heat stroke or, at least, heat exhaustion. If you spend time outdoors in the heat, it is smart to use some these suggestions to protect yourself and your loved ones.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas

Important advice for people living in parts of the world that get really hot, and especially for people who may be visiting or newcomers to the hot spots in this world, Texas being one. I'm dreading the summer heat . . . Going to share this hub again because people need to know this information.


Careermommy profile image

Careermommy 3 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

This is a timely article, especially since it's 95 degrees right now in Southern Cali. This is very useful, great tips. Thank you for sharing them.


Deborah-Diane profile image

Deborah-Diane 3 years ago from Orange County, California Author

Thank you both for your comments. I have lived most of my adult life in either Texas or Southern California, and I know both places can cause people to experience a lot of heat related illnesses. I hope this article will protect a few people from heat stroke!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas

Today, since I just opened a new Pinterest account yesterday, I'm going to Pin this hub to my 'Health' board. Hundreds of people die every year from the heat so maybe this information will get to some of them and make a difference.


Deborah-Diane profile image

Deborah-Diane 3 years ago from Orange County, California Author

Thanks for notifying your followers about this health issue. My husband has gotten very ill from heat exhaustion and I know some people have died from it.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas

With a heatwave in parts of the U.S. this would be a good article for people to read to learn how to get through it. Sharing again.


Deborah-Diane profile image

Deborah-Diane 3 years ago from Orange County, California Author

This is certainly timely information. Hopefully, it will keep someone from suffering needlessly.


samowhamo profile image

samowhamo 3 years ago

I love summer and the heat but I do understand the importance of not getting overheated. My hair is usually curly so when it June comes my dad cuts my hair bald (except fuzz) to avoid overheating and I love swimming sometimes I swim heavily for hours I love the water.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas

All this week it's been around 105-109 degrees F. This is the time of year in Texas when people need to know this information, and you might be surprised at how many people do not, even though they live in a part of the world that gets super hot for a few days/weeks every summer. To be just as hot here next week. Will share again in case anyone who lives in a hot climate may have missed it.


JPSO138 profile image

JPSO138 3 years ago from Cebu, Philippines, International

Heat stroke can be deadly if not handled well. Great hub.


Lady_E profile image

Lady_E 2 years ago from London, UK

Thanks. Very timely Hub to read as well, due to Summer.

I will share it on Twitter. :-)


Deborah-Diane profile image

Deborah-Diane 2 years ago from Orange County, California Author

Heat stroke is a big issue this time of year, especially since there are heat waves going on in places where heat is unusual and very few people have air conditioners, etc.


ezzly profile image

ezzly 22 months ago

Fantastic points here !i think many don't realize the value of wearing a cap or putting on sun factor or even drinking enough water (especially if you ve fallen asleep in the sun)


Deborah-Diane profile image

Deborah-Diane 22 months ago from Orange County, California Author

These are important tips that everyone should know when summer comes, as well as when they are on a winter vacation to a tropical location. Many people forget the rules when they are on vacation, and can become very sick from heat stroke and heat exhaustion ... ruining their vacation plans.


aesta1 profile image

aesta1 21 months ago from Ontario, Canada

It is really hot here in Phnom Penh right now that I only walk early morning or late in the afternoon. A hat is always useful or an umbrella for many people here.


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 16 months ago from sunny Florida

This is so so important for everyone to read. As many years as I have lived in warm climates, not just Florida, but elsewhere you would think I would recognize when I was overheated.

A few weeks ago I was TOO HOT. The day was hot and I was drinking drinking and mostly in shaded areas pulling weeds and all in my yard. before too long I felt 'off' and decided to take a break. And the break ended up lasting the rest of the day...I was completely overcome by the heat..and you know, it is not just the heat...it is the humidity. I wore the humidity that day like a blanket and that is what caused me to feel completely out of whack.

Thanks for sharing this.....Angels are on the way...ps

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working