We plan our summer vacations with plenty of activities in mind, and plenty of ideas for how to make the most of our time in the sunshine. But, at the end of the day, we can be caught off guard by the unexpected developments like sunburn, headaches, insect bites and dehydration that happened while we focused on our fun.
This year, heat stroke is a particularly hot topic due to unusually high temperatures around the globe. We’ve got the most important basic information you can use to avoid this life threatening condition that can sneak up on you if you haven’t planned ahead.
Here are prevention tips for fun in spite of summer’s heat:
6 Tips to Keep Your Cool this Summer
1. Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate!
The importance of staying hydrated can’t be overemphasized. By the time you’re thirsty, you’re already experiencing a hydration deficit. If you ignore that thirst, that deficit becomes dehydration. Moreover, the mechanism that tells us we are thirsty becomes less efficient as we age, so the degree of dehydration can be far worse than you might think.
It is also important to understand that hydrating our bodies is an ongoing process. Gulping down water just before you exercise or spend time outdoors seems like a good idea, and is better than not drinking water, but it is not the answer to a well-hydrated body in summer, or year round.
Avoid drinks that contain caffeine, as caffeine leeches water out of your body and increases the risk of dehydration. When you plan to be out in summer’s heat, take enough water so that you can replenish with a few sips as often as every fifteen minutes.
With even a small percentage of water loss through dehydration, changes begin to occur throughout our bodies that can result in rapidly declining body function and can lead to serious complications and death.
As with many things prevention is the best medicine. In this case, that “ounce of prevention” might just be water!
Here’s a tip: begin regularly hydrating your body as soon as you begin making your vacation plans. Really! If you aren’t accustomed to drinking enough water, you are most likely dehydrated and it would be good to give yourself an advantage both in hydration and in making a habit of drinking enough water before you vacation.
2. Add electrolytes.
Now that we’ve convinced you that you need lots of water, there’s something else you should know; if you drink too much water without replenishing electrolytes lost through sweating, exercise and heat, you may experience hyponatremia, another potentially life-threatening condition.
Coconut water is a natural way to replace electrolytes. This can be a healthier alternative to popular sports drinks can help with this. Check out these other natural electrolyte replenishers
. Read labels and plan to balance your fluid intake with some electrolytes during the day.
Choose a cooler time of day to enjoy your activities, such as early morning or early evening. This will help you keep your body in optimal balance. It also helps staying active feel like more of a treat and less of a chore.
4. Dress for the occasion.
Wear loose, light-colored cotton clothing to stay cool. Added bonus: it seems that insects are less attracted to light colors.
5. Protect your skin.
Avoid spending too much time in direct sunlight, especially during peak afternoon hours when we experience the most heat. Use sunblock to prevent painful sunburns--the fewer harmful ingredients, the better.
6. Listen to your body and pace yourself.
Pay extra attention to your body’s needs if you are on any medications, especially blood pressure medications, diuretics, decongestants, antihistamines, antidepressants or are drinking alcohol.
Summer activities are meant to be fun and playful, and with a little forethought, you’ll avoid common problems and keep the fun going all season long!