Sunny skies and warm weather are some amazing perks of summer, but they can quickly become dangerous if we don’t take the correct precautions. Heatstroke can occur when the body overheats as a result of prolonged heat exposure or strenuous activity in high-temperature weather. Heatstroke symptoms may appear in the form of high body temperatures, sweating, nausea, vomiting, headache, fatigue, and more. July 31 is National Heatstroke Prevention Day to raise awareness and spread heat stress prevention information. From drinking lots of water to carry the Silent Beacon wearable panic button with you, here are nine safety tips to remember in honor of National Heatstroke Prevention Day to avoid overheating this summer.
It is important you’re able to recognize the various heatstroke symptoms and signs, which include:
- A body temperature of 104 degrees or higher
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Confusion, agitation and/or slurred speech
- Lack of sweating
- Flushed, red, dry skin
- Rapid breathing
- Increased heart rate
- Throbbing headache
If you think you or someone around you might be experiencing heatstroke, seek medical help immediately. If left untreated, the effects of the condition can be life-threatening. These effects include the brain, heart, kidney, and muscle damage.
While waiting for help to arrive, you can take these steps to cool off:
- Go indoors or into the shade
- Remove any excess clothing such as jackets, hats or socks
- Cool off with ice packs, water, a fan or any resources available
Perhaps the most beneficial heatstroke safety tip is to carry your Silent Beacon device with you. Silent Beacon is a wearable panic button that calls any number including 911 while sending multiple people your live GPS location. If you are experiencing any range of heat emergencies, simply push the button to seek immediate help. You can customize your contacts to choose who you want to be notified during an emergency. By sending alerts and your live GPS location, Silent Beacon will help you even if you become incapacitated or are unable to talk. The button is a water-resistant, UL-certified fire-retardant plastic, suitable for beach trips, pool days or any outdoor activities that might lead to heat emergencies. Be sure to carry your Silent Beacon device with you to sustain heat stress prevention tactics.
Heatstroke can happen to anyone, but there are certain health factors that increase your susceptibility. Therefore, following these heatstroke safety tips is even more crucial. Some risk factors include:
- Age. In young children and adults over 65, the body is less equipped to deal with changes in temperature. When participating in outdoor activities during the summer, keep your eye on people of extremely young and old age groups.
- Heavy exertion. Anybody engaging in high exertion activities during hot weather has a higher risk, including athletes and military members.
- Medication. Certain medications can affect your body’s ability to stay hydrated and control body temperature. Exercise caution if you take medications that narrow blood vessels, lessen psychiatric symptoms or regulate your blood pressure. Discuss with your doctor about your medication(s) that could put you at a higher risk.
- Pre-existing health conditions. People with underlying health conditions like, heart disease, lung disease, diabetes and obesity are just a few illnesses that increase their risk.
In continuing to think about National Heatstroke Prevention Day, another prevention method is to remember that in hot summer weather, it’s important to wear lightweight and loose clothing to allow your body to sweat and cool off properly. Loose-fitting clothes also allow for more air circulation and will help transfer heat away from the body. For ultimate heat stress prevention, avoid wearing tight and dark clothing or excess accessories, such as jackets, long sleeves and sweatpants.
Be careful in the sun! Sunburn can affect your body’s ability to cool off properly. Protect yourself from the sun by applying sunscreen that is at least SPF15 and reapply sunscreen every two hours or more if you are swimming or sweating excessively. You should also wear protective clothing, such as wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses to minimize heat emergencies.
Staying hydrated in hot environments or during strenuous activity allows your body to sweat and maintain normal body temperature. The general recommendation is to drink at least eight glasses of water a day. However, this amount should increase relative to your heat exposure and strenuous activity, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Avoid drinks with caffeine and alcohol as they can make you dehydrated and lose more fluids which increases your risk for heatstroke symptoms.
Overheating happens to children quicker than adults since their bodies weigh less and are more susceptible to the effects of hot temperatures. Even when the temperature outside is 60 degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature inside a car can reach up to 110 degrees Fahrenheit. When parked in the sun, the temperature in a car can rise 20 degrees Fahrenheit in just 10 minutes. No matter how long you are stopping for, take your children with you. On average, 38 children under the age of 15 die each year in the U.S. from being left unattended in a hot vehicle. The most important takeaway from this heat stress tip is to always remember: look before you lock.
In the summer, the hottest time of day occurs between noon and 3 p.m. To avoid extreme temperatures, plan outdoor activities in the early morning or evening. These are the best times to carry out your summer plans. If you must take part in activities during the hottest parts of the day, make sure to drink water frequently, wear sunscreen and loose-fitting clothing, and take breaks in the shade in order to maximize heat stress prevention.
As you start engaging in outdoor activities during high heat periods, start small and build up from there. For example, take a jog for 30 minutes and increase that time each week as you become more acclimated to exercising in the heat. Be aware of drastic exposures to hot weather, like traveling to a warmer climate or a heatwave, which can increase your risk for heatstroke.
Don’t let the heat put a damper on your summer fun. You can stay safe with our nine heatstroke safety tips such as wearing sunscreen, carrying Silent Beacon with you and avoiding the hottest times of the day. Just be aware of heatstroke symptoms, and remember these tips on July 31, National Heatstroke Prevention Day.