This summer's been hot, no matter where you live, and it's not over yet. Temperatures are expected to be in the 90s in many states this week, and more than one weather warning has been issued already. The heat can be annoying—it can force you inside early or cut your workout short —but it can also be dangerous. Extreme heat means an increased risk of suffering from heat exhaustion, and that can lead to heatstroke, which can be fatal.
The symptoms of heat exhaustion often appear suddenly and can resemble those of shock. A person suffering from heatstroke might feel nauseated or dizzy, as well as have low blood pressure and a weak pulse. He or she might also look pale and clammy and feel cool to the touch and be sweating a lot —once heat exhaustion turns into heat stroke, the body's ability to sweat shuts down.
Read on to find out how to keep yourself and your family safe from heat exhaustion and heatstroke this summer.
How to Prevent Heat Exhaustion
1. Drink plenty of fluids. It might seem obvious, but it's often easy to forget. In the summer, however, it's really important to make sure you keep yourself hydrated. Even if you're not working out strenously, you should try and increase the amount of water you drink.
2. Replace salt and minerals. Heavy sweating removes salt and minerals from your body. If you still want to work out, try to make sure that you're drinking at least 2 to 4 glasses of water, as well as sports drinks, which come with electrolytes and can help you replace what you lose by sweating.
3. Monitor those at high risk. Anyone considered high-risk—infants, adults over the age of 65 and those who are already physically ill—should be monitored carefully.
4. Avoid hot things. This might also seem like stating the obvious, but if you can, avoid hot food and drinks, because they add heat to your body. Limit sun exposure to before the hours of 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m., when it's cooler outside, and try to wear loose-fitting clothing that doesn't cling.
5. Use a buddy system. If you're going to be outside for long periods of time, or working out hard, have a friend come with you. If heat exhaustion hits, you can quickly lose consciousness, so it's important to have someone who can call 911 and stay with you until help arrives.