With weekend barbecues, outdoor festivals, and plenty of beachside relaxation, summer is perhaps the most anticipated season of the entire year. But as heat waves hit, there’s also a spike in heat-related problems and illnesses ranging from dehydration, nausea, heat fatigue, and nausea to more serious conditions such as heat stroke. The risk of heat stroke is highest in infants, athletes, and the elderly, so it’s critical that you’re aware of the symptoms of heat stroke, which include nausea, sweating alternations, high body temperature, rapid breathing, dehydration and rapid breathing. Note that heat stroke is a medical emergency. Call your local emergency number immediately if you suspect someone is experiencing a heat stroke.
Fortunately, heat fatigue and heat strokes are preventable. The following tips will ensure that summer is more pleasant and enjoyable for you and your loved ones without its serious side effects.
Wear breathable clothing
You’ve probably seen plenty of white linen shirts on the beach or by the pool. This may just appear as a fashion choice, but it’s also an intelligent option for hot summer days. Choose breathable, natural fabrics over synthetic ones to beat the heat this summer. In addition, stay away from dark clothing as they absorb more heat and tight-fitting clothing as they don’t let you sweat. Loose-fitting clothes allow your body to sweat – which is your body’s natural cooling system!
You’ll also want to add sunglasses and hats to protect the sensitive areas of the face from UV rays. This will help to prevent long-term aging spots and wrinkles. And finally, don’t forget SPF in your moisturizers, lotions, and lip balms!
Avoid peak hours of sunlight for your workouts
Peak hours of sunlight are times of the day when UV rays and temperatures are at their highest intensity. Normally, this is between 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Perform your workouts early in the morning or late in the evening or night. Doing so can dramatically reduce your risk of heat-related problems like dizziness and heat fatigue. Stay inside and get food and water during hot hours to allow your body to cool. When humidity and heat are at their highest, it’s always best to take a break, stay inside, get some food and water, and maybe even take a nap. If you perform water sports, it can be tricky to identify if you’re overheated. Stay safe and keep hydrated at all times. And when it doubt, take a break!
Hydration is key
Heat makes you sweat, which is your body’s natural cooling mechanism, but it also means you are losing precious fluid from your body, making hydration crucial during summer days. Your best bet is to keep a big bottle of water with you wherever you go. Do not wait until you are thirsty! If you feel thirsty, chances are your body has already reached dehydration. Drink water throughout the day to prevent heat fatigue and make sure your urine is always clear. Colorless or light colored urine means you’re hydrated.
You can also include other fluids in your diet such as fresh juices and coconut water as they are rich in antioxidants, minerals, and electrolytes that boost hydration and prevent heat-related symptoms. Be sure to opt for juices with no added sugar or salt.
And lastly, stay away from caffeine and alcohol. An ice coffee or cold cocktail (you know, the ones with the cute umbrellas) may appear hydrating, but they aren’t necessarily hydrating to your body. Alcohol and caffeine can dehydrate you more, so choose water over alcohol to stay hydrated during the summer, especially during outdoor events like barbeques and music festivals.
Get a boost from supplements
In addition to keeping hydrated with fluids, be sure to eat plenty of water-rich and cooling fruits and vegetables, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, watermelon ,and pears. These are rich in potassium, magnesium and citric acid, which can help people recover from heat exhaustion. Additionally, they contain antioxidants that can help protect against harmful UV rays from the sun. B vitamins are also essential, especially during hotter days as they help the body convert food to energy. While you can consume foods rich in B-vitamins, it can help to take the additional step of taking a B-vitamin supplement.
Common problems faced by students, athletes and other people with demanding and active lifestyles during hotter days, include mental fog, lack of creatively, poor concentration, and overall mental and physical lethargy. Adding nootropics to your diet can help combat this problems.
Stay cool indoors
Be sure to pay attention to any heat-related warnings if you live in a location that can become dangerously hot in the summer. During summer days, be sure to stay indoors, especially during peak sunlight hours with the fan or A/C going. Taking cool showers can also help refresh you and prevent heat fatigue. Be sure to have access to enough water at all times and if you’re not cool enough at home, look for cooling stations such as malls or public libraries. If A/C isn’t an option, buy heavy curtains and keep them closed during the day so that your home stays cooler in the evening after you return home from work.