The beautiful and warm days of summer have finally arrived. It’s time to get outdoors, visit with friends and family and enjoy some seasonal activities. But before you head out, remember that summertime activity should be balanced with measures to stay cool and prevent heat-related issues.
Pace your outdoor activities. If you are not accustomed to the hot weather, avoid strenuous activity or limit trips outdoors to early morning or evening. Try to rest in shady areas especially if you become lightheaded, weak or faint.
Drink plenty of fluids. During prolonged exposure to hot weather you will need to increase the amount of fluids you drink. Don’t wait until you feel thirsty. It’s best to drink water or juice throughout the day to stay hydrated.
Wear comfortable clothing. Light-colored, loose fitting clothing will help you stay cool. And don’t forget a hat and sunglasses!
Adjust your diet. The foods you eat can also help you stay cool. Salads, fruits and vegetables are easy to digest and often high in water content to help keep you hydrated.
Monitor those at risk. People age 65 and older and people with chronic medical conditions are at higher risk of developing heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion. Develop a “buddy system” to check on elders or those considered high risk during periods of high heat.
Monitor your meds. Increased sensitivity to sunlight is a side effect of many widely used prescription and over-the-counter drugs causing rapid sunburn, rashes or hives. Other drugs can cause sensitivity to heat resulting in dehydration. If you have any questions or concerns about your medications consult your doctor or pharmacist.
Summer is a wonderful time in New England. Take some time to enjoy it – safely.