Keep your Cool:
Through the summer, many of us take to the outdoors to get fresh air and exercise while maintaining social-distancing rules. But as the summer temperatures rise, so too does the danger of heat exhaustion when working out outdoors.
The Heat of the Moment:
Heat exhaustion happens when your body overheats. Common symptoms include:
Headache, Dizziness/Fainting, Cold, pale and clammy skin, body aches or muscle cramps, Rapid, weak pulse, tiredness/weakness, nausea or vomiting
The Safe Outdoors:
When staying active outdoors this summer, remember these seven tips to stay safe:
- Stay hydrated: drink plenty of fluids to maintain a normal body temperature.
- Stay indoors during peak sun hours: between 10:00am-4:00pm. If possible, schedule your outdoor activities in the early morning or evening.
- Wear light-colored, lightweight and loose-fitting clothing: dark tight-fitting clothing traps heat; keeping your body from cooling properly.
- Always use sunscreen: sunburn can dehydrate you and keep your body from cooling down. Wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses and apply sunscreen of SPF 30 minutes before going out. Then reapply according to directions on the package. Products labeled or UVA/UVB work best.
- Understand your individual risk: certain medications (beta blockers, diuretics and antihistamines for example) increase the risk of heat exhaustion. In addition, frequently check on those at highest risk for heat-related death, such as elderly, disabled people or homebound people. Check on children and pets frequently as they can’t always communicate when something is wrong.
- Stay informed: check local news for extreme heat warnings. Avoid outdoor activities during these times.
- Safely wear a mask: when wearing a mask outdoors in high temperatures, choose a breathable material like light-colored cotton, for your face covering. Also have multiple face coverings on hand, in case your first becomes damp from sweat.
Turn it down:
If you experience any symptoms of heat exhaustion, stop what you’re doing and move to a cooler place. If symptoms persist, it’s time to call your doctor. When not treated promptly, heat exhaustion can lead to heatstroke, a life-threatening condition that happens when the core body temperature rise above 104 degrees Fahrenheit.
For more tips for working out safely at HMHforU.org/Exercise.
Disclaimer: this article comes from the June 2020 issue of AARP and I give the publication full credit for the information. Please be careful when going outside and cover up.