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Beating the Heat and Staying Safe This Summer

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Beating the Heat and Staying Safe This Summer

Summers in Springfield can really heat up, and as you age, it can be harder for your body to regulate itself to the heat. You can still enjoy the summer months, even spending significant time outdoors. You’ll just need to spend some time preparing yourself and brushing up on these tips for beating the heat and staying safe this summer.

Recognize the signs of sunstroke

Before diving into the best ways to beat the heat, knowing how to recognize the signs of sunstroke can keep you alert and ready to react quickly if you need to. If you recognize any of these symptoms in yourself or those around you, getting help quickly is very important. If you’ve already gone down the path to sunstroke, it’s too late to simply rehydrate; don’t delay, call 9-1-1 right away.

According to WebMD, signs of heatstroke include:

  • Sudden loss of consciousness in the heat or feeling a degree of dizziness or light-headedness that may lead to unconsciousness
  • Sudden severe and throbbing head pain
  • Very fast heart rate, which may either feel very strong — like it’s pounding out of your chest — or very weak, like it’s barely there
  • Cramps, weakness and seizures
  • Feeling nauseated, with or without vomiting
  • Becoming extremely flushed and red but completely lacking sweat despite the heat

Again, heatstroke is a serious emergency. Seek help immediately if you believe you or a friend in your community may be suffering its effects.

3 Tips for Beating the Heat

1. Extreme hydration

Our minds can fool us into thinking that we’ve consumed enough water to take on the heat, but that's rarely true. The recommended daily consumption of water is meant for exposure to normal temperatures without exertion. Any time we add in exercise or high temperatures, we also need to add in significantly higher water consumption.

Think of it as extreme hydration. If you know you’re going to be spending time outdoors in the heat, prepare by drinking extra water ahead of time. Then, when you do go outside, take even more water with you — at least twice as much as you’d normally drink in that time period — so you can continue to refresh yourself while exposed to the heat.

2. Cover up

Protect yourself from heatstroke and sunburn by covering up adequately when you brave the Springfield open skies this summer. Use clothes made from lightweight materials like thin cottons and linens, and consider wearing breathable long-sleeved shirts and pants.

A big floppy hat can protect you from sun and heat. Avoid tight clothes, heavy materials and form-fitting hats — they can actually trap heat in near your body.

3. Plan your outdoor time well

Unless you absolutely have to be outside during the hottest part of the day — typically between noon and 4 p.m. — try to plan your outdoors time for cooler periods. You’ll still have the opportunity to get your Vitamin D sun exposure if you go outside in the morning or late afternoon.

If your schedule only permits you to be outside when it’s super-hot, try to plan your jaunts to areas that offer plenty of overhead cover from trees or pavilions. If you want to get in your exercise or steps for the day, choose paths that offer a lot of opportunities to sit down along the way. This gives your body time to rest for a bit while rehydrating and taking a break from the heat.

Most importantly, know your own body well. At the first sign of trouble, or if you need a second opinion from a trained professional, reach out to our staff here at The Gardens in Springfield. We’re always here to help you live your best life.