- First Aid
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
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
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
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!