July is National Heat Stroke Prevention Month, due to the high temperatures during this time of year. Heatstroke is a dangerous yet preventable condition that anyone who spends a lot of time outside during the summer should work to avoid. Heat stroke may occur for a number of reasons, including exposure to warm temperatures, dehydration, and wearing excess clothing. Experiencing this condition may lead to organ failure and even death. Take a look at these preventative tips to help you avoid heat stroke, this month.
Wear loose, light clothing.
Especially if you are planning on being outside during a hot day, make sure your clothes are not too tight, heavy, or dark. These types of clothing both attract extra heat and prevent your body from cooling down.
In addition to tight fitting clothes, sunburns will also halt the body’s natural ability to cool itself. To avoid sunburn, be sure to regularly apply sunblock (every two hours or more often if you are swimming) while spending time outdoors. If you do incur a sunburn, the safest way to avoid heatstroke is to let the affected area heal outside of direct sunlight.
Sweating is the body’s way of expelling heat, and the best way to encourage that natural bodily function is to stay hydrated while spending time in the heat. If your body is used to a certain amount of water on a regular day, make sure to drink more than you normally would to stay hydrated while sweating.
Never leave children in a parked car.
This tip goes for all seasons, but is especially important during summer. When parked in the sun, a car’s temperature may raise 20 degrees in as little as 10 minutes, making it an unsafe practice even for a short time period. Despite being so easily avoidable, this occurrence is common cause of heat-related deaths in children.
Avoid strenuous activity during the hottest time of day.
Overworking your body in extremely high temperatures may cause overheating, and subsequently, heat stroke. During the hottest time of the day, it is best to take frequent breaks from strenuous activity, stay hydrated, and spend as much time in the shade as possible. If you are able to avoid working outside during the early afternoon, it is wise to do so.
Rest if you feel tired or weak.
Pushing through the pain of overheating does not make the problem go away, but rather exacerbates the already dangerous symptoms. Make sure that if you do feel light headed or overheated at any time, focus on your well being rather than the task at hand. Taking frequent water breaks or moving into the shade whenever possible will prolong your body’s ability to handle the hot temperatures.
We hope that these tips to avoid heat stroke keep you and your family safe and healthy all summer long.