The Summer Heat is “On”
Summer heat can be rough to deal with. “How do I know if I’m dehydrated?” Our Medical Professionals get that question a lot. Being dehydrated in the summer heat can be dangerous to you and your family’s well being. We’re smack in the middle of the warmest months of the year, and most of the US has been experiencing a crazy heat wave. Some of us know how to workout safely when it’s hot, but honestly, we’re having trouble simply existing in this heat! Here are 6 ways to keep cool, hydrated and safe in the summer heat.
1. Surprise! Drinking water is important. Once you’re thirsty, you’re already mildly dehydrated. If you’re looking for a formula for how much you should be drinking every day, do the math by calculating two-thirds of your body weight and converting it into ounces. Dehydration can look and feel like many different things; most commonly, it results in fatigue, aching joints, headaches, dark-colored urine, and dry mouth. If you start to feel any of these symptoms, find a cool spot and drink water right away.
2. The hotter you are, the sleepier you get. Because of the increased energy our bodies expend to stay cool in the heat, it makes us more tired than normal, even when we’re not exercising. Your body temperature naturally drops as you start to fall asleep. Going from being really hot (anywhere outside) to a cooler environment, can make you feel sleepy. While it’s probably frowned upon to take a siesta in the middle of the day, give your family time to recharge in the afternoons whenever possible.
3. Stay away from polyester fabrics, especially at night. To get a better night’s sleep, swap out synthetic fibers for cotton sheets and pajamas. You’ll help the body’s natural cooling process as you fall asleep. Plus, those breathable fibers mean you won’t wake up in a pool of sweat in the morning.
4. Taking things a step further, the real way to protect your skin is to cover it up. Each day, the strongest UV hours are between 10am and 4pm. Grab a loose, cotton T-shirt or cover-up, wear a hat, or hang out under an umbrella to minimize skin exposure to the sun and decrease sun damage. Which is the best color to increase UV protection? It may seem counterintuitive, but wearing dark colored fabrics actually protects us. The best color to keep cool in the heat is to wear black. Black absorbs everything coming in from the sun. But black also absorbs energy from the body instead of reflecting it back on us. When we wear white, we actually cook ourselves.
5. Don’t forget to eat even if you’re not hungry. In the summer, our bodies are working full-time to keep us hydrated while sweating to keep us cool. Our appetite may be down, but this doesn’t mean you should eat less. Keep to a normal eating routine, even when you don’t feel hungry. Don’t force large meals on yourself; instead, break it into small meals or frequent healthy snacks throughout the busy summer days. There are so many nutrient-rich (and hydrating!) fresh fruits and veggies in season, so it’s the perfect time to indulge in salads.
6. AC feels amazing to cool down with, but there’s a downside when we exercise. Overcooling our muscles means less blood flow, which makes them unprepared for activity and exercise. Stay conscious of proper warm-ups when leaving a cool environment and reduce injury. Dehydration can also reduce endurance, decrease strength, cause cramping, and slow muscular response.
When to Visit the ER: Heat Stroke Symptoms
- Throbbing headache
- Dizziness and light-headedness
- Lack of sweating despite the heat
- Red, hot, and dry skin
- Muscle weakness or cramps
- Nausea and vomiting
- Rapid heartbeat, which may be either strong or weak
- Rapid, shallow breathing
- Behavioral changes such as confusion, disorientation, or staggering
Kingwood Emergency Hospital is open 24 Hours, 7 Days a Week.
Find us at 23330 US Hwy 59 North, Kingwood, TX 77339
Do you have any tried-and-true methods for staying cool and healthy during the summer? Tweet to us twitter.com/Kingwood247ER and let us know how you do it!