Health & Wellness

Surviving the Heat Wave: Tips for Handling Extreme High Temperatures

As temperatures in the Southwestern United States climb well into 3-digit figures, the rest of the nation is enduring record high temperatures early in the summer season as well. With a wave of extreme temperatures, it is crucial to know how to protect yourself from heat exhaustion, or worse, heat stroke. Let’s take a look at some of the best survival strategies for making it through this scorching hot summer.

Have an exit strategy

Once you start experiencing the symptoms of heat exhaustion—dizziness, weakness, fatigue, nausea, headache, and heavy sweating—the best strategy is to get out of the heat. Therefore, you might steer clear of activities like long hikes and visits to secluded outdoor areas where it can be hard to find a retreat in the shade or, better yet, indoors. You may also need to cut down on your typical outdoor workout routine, since you’re likely to tire out more quickly when temperatures are over 90 degrees.

Hydrate before you get thirsty

Not drinking enough water is one of the fastest ways to feel ill in hot weather. Many people will make the mistake of assuming that they don’t need to drink water until they’re thirsty, but thirst is actually a very early sign of dehydration, so you should make a habit of quenching your thirst before it happens. Additionally, you’ll want to drink extra water for every caffeinated or alcoholic beverage you consume. Remember, alcohol can hit you much faster in the heat, so pacing yourself is essential.

Protect your skin

Along with rising temperatures, you might experience increased sun exposure, as many areas of the country are seeing clear skies without cloud cover. Sunscreen is essential, but you should also take the extra step of wearing protective clothing, such as a wide-brimmed hat and loose, long-sleeved shirts. Even just an hour in the sun in the middle of summer can be incredibly harsh on your skin, since the sunlight is more direct for longer periods of the day.

Know your body

One key fact to remember about heat illness is that it does not always affect people in the same way. That’s why you should know your own limits with the heat and know when you are not feeling your best. As you get older, your tolerance for the heat may decline. That being said, you might feel just fine when your kids are struggling to keep in high temperatures, so be sure to check in frequently with children for early symptoms of heat exhaustion.

Along with the heat, you should remain aware of other summertime health risks, including insect stings, allergies, and skin irritation. The physicians of MeMD will be on your side to treat each of these conditions from anywhere, offering around-the-clock remote medical exams at your convenience.

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