Summer is not over and high temperatures are still with us. Heat-related illnesses like heat exhaustion or heat stroke are still possible. We need to be aware. These conditions happen when our bodies are not able to properly cool themselves. While the body normally cools itself by sweating, during extreme heat this might not be enough. Knowing the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses can help you stay safe when enjoying nature.
Warning signs of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness and weakness, dizziness or fainting, headache, nausea or vomiting. Follow these safety tips to help prevent heat-related illness:
• Visit during the coolest time of the day.
• Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
• Wear sunscreen to protect your skin from harmful rays. Sunburn affects your body’s ability to cool itself and causes a loss of body fluids.
• Increase your fluid intake – regardless of activity level. Don’t wait until you feel thirsty.
• Avoid drinks containing caffeine, alcohol or large amounts of sugar because they can cause you to lose more fluid. Avoid very cold beverages as they can cause stomach cramps.
• Take frequent breaks in the shade.
• Ask your doctor whether medications you take affect your body’s response to heat.
• Remain alert for the signs of heat-related illness. Report heat-related symptoms immediately.
For more information about heat-related illnesses, click here.
Article courtesy Missouri State Parks.