So the sun is finally shining after months of Northwest gloom and drizzle and you’re more than ready to get out there and do some gardening, play some volleyball or tennis, hike in the Gorge, ride the Portland bike paths. After months of sitting around, you want to get moving again!
While you’re outside catching up on fun, remember: Summer heat can sneak up on you. It can zap your energy, cause dehydration, sunburn and exhaustion! Kids under four, folks over 65, and those who are obese, already ill, or taking medications can be affected very easily. Prolonged exposure to heat and insufficient body fluids can result in heat exhaustion. Symptoms can include heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache and nausea or vomiting. Here are the best ways to avoid or remedy heat exhaustion:
In ancient Egypt, China and other parts of the Far East, watermelon juice and its seeds were traditionally offered to thirsty travelers. This flavorful fruit is one of the best remedies for dehydration and summer heat. You may find you empty your bladder more often also as the urine will flush the heat out. So keep drinking also.
- Pace yourself. Carry water with you and sip it throughout the day.
- Replace salts and minerals with sports drinks that have potassium and other electrolytes. Avoid drinks with large amounts of sugar.
- Wear lightweight and light colored clothing.
- Seek air conditioning or cool breezes in the shade. Sunburn can happen very easily if you are not careful. Don’t forget the sunscreen.
- Avoid strenuous outdoor activities during the hottest parts of the day. Use a buddy system if necessary and keep watch on those at high risk.
- If you feel dizzy and/or stop sweating, stop your activity and get out of the sun fast. Drink cool, not cold water with a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in it. The vinegar helps to replace electrolytes and minerals like sports drinks do. Take a cool bath (or shower) for 15-20 minutes. Try to submerge as much of your body as possible.
With a little knowledge and common sense, you will safely ease into a summer of fun!