A couple of months ago, when the weather was perfect for playing outside, I had the opportunity to chat with Amy Bushatz, on her podcast, Humans Outside. Amy is based out of Alaska and she wanted to know how we play outside in the heat and humidity of an Arkansas Summer. You can listen to the podcast on these platforms:
While my advice is born from personal experience, I am not a doctor or physiologist. I was a weatherman in the Navy but that’s not the same. So here is the information from the Arkansas Department of Health on how to handle the heat out there.
As temperatures continue in the high 90s or above, the Arkansas Department of Health encourages people to practice heat safety. It is easy to get carried away while having fun in the summer, but ignoring signs of heat stress can be deadly.
Heat stress is a heat-related illness caused by your body’s inability to cool down properly. The body normally cools itself by sweating; however, under certain conditions sweating is not enough. People who have higher risks for heat stress or heat-related death include children under the age of four, seniors age 65 or older, anyone overweight, and those who are ill or on certain medications.
Heat-related illnesses are preventable. Simple tips to prevent heat stress are:
- Stay in an air-conditioned area during the hottest hours of the day. If your home does not have air conditioning, consider public places like a library, senior center, or mall.
- Wear light, loose-fitted clothing.
- Drink water often. Don’t wait until you are thirsty.
- Avoid unnecessary hard work or activities if you are outside or without air conditioning.
- Avoid unnecessary sun exposure. Wear a hat when you are in the sun.
- Use sunscreen as directed and reapply as needed.
The most common heat-related illnesses are heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps, sunburn, and heat rash. It is important for everyone to know the warning signs and what action to take if someone experiences one of these illnesses.
Heat Stroke: Symptoms are high body temperature; hot, red, dry, or damp skin; fast, strong pulse; headache; dizziness; nausea; confusion; and passing out. For heat stroke, you should call 911 right away, move to a cooler place, and help lower the body temperature with cool cloths or a cool bath.
Heat Exhaustion: Symptoms include heavy sweating; cold, pale, and clammy skin; fast, weak pulse; nausea or vomiting; muscle cramps; tiredness or weakness; dizziness; headache; and passing out. For heat exhaustion, you should move to a cool place, loosen clothes, put cool, wet cloths on the body, or take a cool bath, and sip water. Get medical help right away if vomiting or symptoms get worse or symptoms last longer than one hour.
Heat Cramps: Symptoms include heavy sweating during intense exercise and muscle pain or spasms. For heat cramps, stop physical activity and move to a cool place, drink water or a sports drink, and wait for cramps to go away before starting more physical activity. If someone is on a low-sodium diet, has heart problems, or if cramps last longer than one hour, they should get medical help right away.
Sunburn: Symptoms include painful, red, and warm skin and blisters on the skin. For sunburn, stay out of the sun until the sunburn heals, put cool cloths on the sunburned areas or take a cool bath, put moisturizing lotion on sunburned areas, and do not break blisters.
Heat Rash: Symptoms include red clusters of small blisters that look like pimples on the skin, usually on the neck, chest, groin, or elbow creases.
A while back we asked you about your favorite seasonal activities in Arkansas. For two of these activities, Summer came in first.