Sunburn shouldn’t be your only concern when having fun in the sun.
The lazy days of summer are here! Many Floridians are proactive when it comes to wearing sunscreen, but protection from the sun shouldn’t be your only concern when it comes to spending time outdoors.
The body normally cools itself off by sweating, but body temperatures can rise to dangerous levels during hot weather, especially if humidity is high. Heat illnesses can occur from staying in the heat too long because the body is not able to properly cool itself. These illnesses include:
- Heat stroke—symptoms include dry skin, rapid pulse and dizziness
- Heat exhaustion—often precedes heatstroke, characterized by heavy sweating and rapid breathing
- Heat cramps—muscle pains or spasms that occur during physical activity or exercise
- Heat rash—skin irritation caused by excessive sweating
Heat Safety Tips
Heat illnesses caused by very high body temperatures can damage the brain or other vital organs, but heat-related deaths are preventable. In addition to wearing sunscreen to prevent skin damage, take the following precautions to help stay safe in the heat:
- Increase your fluid intake (water is your best option) and replace salt and minerals lost through sweating with sports beverages (but talk to your doctor if you are on a low-sodium diet).
- Wear lightweight, light-colored fabrics.
- Stay indoors as often as possible and look for shady areas if you must be outside.
- Schedule exercise and outdoor activities for morning and evening hours.
- Pay special attention to young children, the elderly, and overweight people because they are very sensitive to heat illnesses.
Want to learn more? St. Petersburg General Hospital’s free online Health Library is home to a wealth of information! Learn more about heat exhaustion and heatstroke here. You can also read more about our hospital and the services we offer here or contact us via Consult-A-Nurse at 1-888-741-5122.