Summer is just about here – and sweltering Long Island summer heat isn’t far away. Sure, flu season may be firmly behind us. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t still lingering health concerns in the warm and sunny seasons, too. So, once the high temperatures hit and you’re enjoying the outdoors, remember the risk of summertime injuries, overexposure to heat and a heat-related illness. Overheating can become a life-threatening situation if you ignore it. In this post, we’ll discuss the importance of staying cool and hydrated while you stay active during the summer.
The Importance of Staying Hydrated
In the summertime, it’s imperative to stay hydrated as often as possible. Physical consequences of not drinking enough water throughout the day, while staying outside in direct heat, can vary from something minor to something life-threatening. It’s important to remember that even anyone who stays inside, but doesn’t have a fan or air conditioning, are also at risk for heat-related illnesses. Therefore, whether you’re outside or inside this summer, keep yourself cool and drink water!
Dehydration happens when a person doesn’t maintain a proper fluid balance. Often, a person has to increase water intake, but it’s also important to make sure that you consume low-sugar electrolyte drinks, as well. Excessive sweating can cause a serious loss of sodium, leading to an imbalance in the body’s electrolytes. This imbalance can lead to muscle cramps, weakness, or heart palpitations. Fluids with caffeine and alcohol don’t help to rehydrate and can contribute to dehydration.
Heat Related Illness
Heat related illnesses can be anything from mild heat exhaustion to a heat stroke. Symptoms can vary widely, and treatments usually rely on hydration and cooling down. While many symptoms can be caused by other health problems or illnesses, the following can be from a heat related illness:
- Muscle cramps or weakness
- Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
- Feeling light headed, dizzy, passing out, or decreased consciousness
- Heart racing/elevated heart rate
- Skin may be pale and sweaty or it may be hot and dry (depends on severity)
- Drop in blood pressure
- Faster breathing
- Decreased urination
- Temperature elevated, severe if over 104.9
Very old and young people with chronic health issues, and people who take specific medications, are at higher risk for a heat related illness. Others at risk include those anyone who’s involved in strenuous activities in the heat, or those who are exposed to heat for prolonged periods of time without properly hydrating or cooling themselves.
Summer Safety Tips
You can celebrate the summer and enjoy your favorite outdoor activities responsibly with the following tips:
- Wear light clothing or a hat.
- Seek shade, use fans, or go to a place with air conditioning during the hottest part of the day.
- Exercise during the coolest time of the day.
- Drink fluids to stay properly hydrated while limiting/avoiding caffeine and alcohol.
- Pace your activities and allow rest times.
If you find yourself thirsty, you’re already starting to become dehydrated, so take the time to drink fluids and rest.
And if you start to develop symptoms, and resting in a cool place while drinking fluids does not help, you cannot drink fluids due to nausea and vomiting, or your symptoms continue to worsen, seek medical attention. If you stop sweating, have a seizure, pass out or have a temperature over 104.9 you should seek emergency treatment.
It’s super important to be conscious of health and safety tips throughout the summer. Obviously, Long Island summers are so many peoples’ favorite time of the year, so enjoy it! Just make sure you enjoy it safely and responsibly. At Lake Shore Physical Therapy, we’re happy to answer any and all of your questions when it comes to staying healthy, wh class=”blue”ether in summertime or in cold weather. Our therapists are committed to keeping our clients feeling strong and healthy every day of the year, so feel free to reach out to Lake Shore Physical Therapy for a consultation now!