Avoiding Heat Stroke

Summer is in full swing now! Make sure you protect yourself out in the blistering heat. No matter where you are, the sun's intensity can do some serious damage to our skin and bodies. One of the more dangerous cases in particular is heat stroke. Heat stroke, a little more serious of an issue than dehydration, is when your body literally overheats to an internal temperature of 104°F or higher. This causes your body to shut down which can be potentially fatal. Make sure you take these steps to stay cool and regulate your body so that you can enjoy your picnic, vacation, or weekend sports event.

Drink Water

This can never be emphasized enough. Not only does water keep you hydrated, it helps your body regulate a cool enough temperature so you don't overheat. A good rule is that if you're sweating, you’re most likely already dehydrated, so drink up!

Stay in the shade

It seems like common sense, but when you're out having fun with your friends and family sometimes it's easy to stay in the sun for hours on end. Take breaks every now and then, and make sure you cool down with some ice on your back or a cold wet towel.

Wear appropriate clothing

Similar to the properties of sunscreen, different clothing fabrics will have varying levels of SPF. For example, a cotton shirt has a looser, light weave that has much less SPF than say, a denser, tight knit weave such as a polyester or spandex type shirt. Wear these types of dense-knit fabrics for more sun protection.

Know the signs

There are plenty of physical signs of whether or not you're in danger of heat stroke. Here are some of the telltale signs that you should look out for:

Early Symptoms

  • Fatigue
  • Profuse sweating
  • Thirst
  • Muscle cramps

Later Symptoms. CAUTION!

  • Headache, dizziness
  • Cool, moist skin
  • Lack of sweat
  • Dark urine

The important thing to remember is that heat stroke is not the same as dehydration; it is actually worse. The effects of dehydration can easily be compounded especially if you're drinking alcohol, eating high sodium foods, sweating from being active, all while being in the sun. Be sure to monitor your own temperature and know when you need to cool down. Stay safe this summer!