With summer in full swing, lots of long and hot days are ahead of us. On top of that the Great Lakes region is known for its humid temperatures, so while you enjoy the great outdoors this summer season it is important to take active steps to prevent heat-related illnesses.
In extremely hot temperatures we produce a lot of sweat, and losing too much fluid can lead to dehydration and other heat-related discomfort. In cases where the body cannot cool itself off adequately there is a risk of heat exhaustion and even heat stroke, which is a medical emergency. Children and teens who engage in intense physical activity such as sports practice in hot temperatures are at an increased risk for heat exhaustion and heat stroke, but anyone who loses more fluid through sweat or urination than they can replace by drinking can be at risk of dehydration.
If you are worried that you or someone around you could be dehydrated, look out for these symptoms: thirst, headache, dizziness, dry or sticky mouth, chills, fatigue, low or no urine output (urine color is dark yellow). If you suspect that someone around you could be suffering from dehydration, take them to a cool area (such as a shaded place) and make sure they drink plenty of water or clear juice. If their situation does not improve or worsens, seek medical help right away.
In order to prevent dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke from occurring in the first place, you can use these simple strategies:
- Avoid direct sunlight and crowded places
- Avoid intense physical activity between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
- Avoid extremely cold beverages
- Drink plenty of water and ensure that your children do as well
- Wear light-coloured, loose-fitting clothing and hats that will shield your head from the sun
- Seek out cool spaces such as shady areas or areas with air-conditioning
- Avoid leaving children or pets in a car or other confined areas for any amount of time!
And another great way to keep cool in the summer heat that not too many people seem to know about is to apply Peppermint essential oil to the back of your neck. I have been using essential oils for many years and I would highly recommend checking trying out yourself. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at Barbara.Grumme@century21.ca.