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Tips for Enjoying Summer without Heat-Related Illnesses

Posted on June 03 2014

As the summer season kicks off and the temperatures start to rise its important to be aware of how conditions of extreme heat can impact your health. Being exposed to high temperatures and overexerting yourself during heat waves can cause a variety of heat-related illness, some of which can prove to be deadly. Fortunately, with a little education heat related illnesses and deaths can be prevented and you can still enjoy the summer. Know what your risk factors are, what types of illnesses to watch out for, and take steps to help avoid being affected by heat-related illnesses this summer.   Risk factors for heat-related illnesses: – Age – the young and the elderly are more susceptible – Health Status – those with chronic health conditions, compromised immune systems, or mental illnesses face higher risks – Activity Levels – overexerting yourself and partaking in strenuous physical activities/exercise – Environment – living in areas with poor air quality and high pollution, like large cities, also leaves you more vulnerable to heat-related illnesses   Heat-Related Illnesses: – Dehydration – Severe Sunburn – Heat Cramps – Heat Exhaustion (feeling sluggish/tired, fainting, cramps) – Heat Stroke (sweating ceases, headache, dizziness, confusion, nausea, red/hot/dry skin) – Increased severity of respiratory diseases like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)   Tips for Preventing Heat-Related Illnesses The most effective way to prevent heat-related illnesses is staying in cool locations with air circulation and staying hydrated. Try to stay in shaded areas when outdoors, wear loose fitting and lightly colored clothing, and make sure to wear sunglasses and use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with both UVA and UVB protection. Using cool wet clothes placed on the skin can also help keep the body cool, as well as taking short but cool showers/baths. Studies have also shown that having access to cold drinking water inspires people to drink more water; helping them stay hydrated and fight-off heat-related illnesses. Carrying around a refillable water bottle with you will help you to remember to frequently drink water, and therefore helps reduce your risks for heat-related illnesses. If stretching, staying cool, and remaining hydrated still isn’t enough to help prevent/relieve heat cramps, the Hyland’s Leg Cramp Caplets can be used for temporarily reliving cramping symptoms experienced in the lower back, legs, and feet.   Sources: http://www.cdc.gov/climateandhealth/effects/ http://hc-sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/pubs/climat/heat-adults-chaleur/index-eng.php http://www.weather.com/life/safety/heat/article/health-impacts_2011-11-15

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