Beat the Heat With These 5 Health Tips

Temperatures are rising for most of the country, and after this prolonged winter, many are jumping at the opportunity to enjoy a nice day outside. However, with warm weather also comes the risk of sunburn and heat-related illnesses. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, heat is the top weather-related killer in the United States.

To help beat the heat this summer, keep some of the following safety tips in mind before heading outdoors.

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1. Apply sunscreen

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, one severe sunburn in childhood or adolescence more than doubles the chances of a person developing melanoma later in life. A person’s risk for melanoma also doubles if he or she has had five or more sunburns at any age.

To avoid this risk, the organization recommends using sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day, applying it to your entire body 30 minutes before heading outside. The organization also encourages reapplying the sunscreen every two hours and immediately after swimming or sweating heavily.

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2. Stay hydrated

According to the Red Cross, more cases of dehydration are reported in the summer because of loss of body fluid through sweating. To combat dehydration when soaking up the summer rays, follow the tips below.

Red Cross:

  • Water is your best option.
  • Those working or exercising outside need to drink more water than the recommended eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day.
  • Avoid alcohol, as it causes dehydration.

Medical Daily:

  • Set reminders on your phone, watch, or email to drink every hour.
  • After each trip to the restroom, drink a glass of water to replenish your fluids.

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3. Exercise cautiously

Gerald Fletcher, professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic, told the American Heart Association that it’s best to avoid the outdoors in the early afternoon, between noon and 3 p.m., because that is when the sun is usually at its strongest, putting individuals at a higher risk for heat-related illnesses. Fletcher also revealed a few more tips for exercising safely in the scorching temps.

  • Exercise with a buddy — it’s not only more fun, but it’s also safer to have someone at your side.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing during your workout.
  • Drink water before, during, and after your workout.
  • Take regular breaks in the shade before starting again.

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4. Don’t leave your kids or pets in the car

According to the National Weather Service, dozens of children and pets left in parked vehicles die each year from hyperthermia, a condition that occurs when the body absorbs more heat than it can handle.

Studies show that the temperature inside a parked vehicle can rapidly rise to a dangerous level for children, pets, and even adults, but the effects can be more severe for children since their bodies warm at a faster rate than adults. Even leaving the windows slightly cracked doesn’t significantly decrease the heating rate.

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5. Keep covered

If you are outside during the brightest part of the day, try to stay in the shade as much as possible. However, if that is not obtainable, the American Cancer Society has listed some precautions to help protect your skin against the sun’s harsh UV rays.

  • Wear a hat with at least a 2- to 3-inch brim all around to protect areas that are often exposed to intense sun, such as the eyes, ears, forehead, nose, and scalp.
  • Wear sunglasses that block 99 percent to 100 percent of both UVA and UVB rays
  • Throw on dark-colored clothing, as dark colors generally provide more protection than light colors.

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