Summer Done Safely

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Arkansas summers are known for their triple digit temperatures, and hot, humid, sunny days are a recipe for excessive heat exposure. Before you head outside, consider how you can counter heat exposure.

Heat Exposure

Whether you are working or playing under the sun, you are subject to the Arkansas heat. Humidity, physical activity and direct contact with hot objects also contribute to heat exposure. While you shouldn’t let the heat keep you inside, you should be aware of how it affects your body. Even the most common outdoor activities can quickly become dangerous in extreme heat. 

Signs of Overexposure

Your body works hard to maintain a stable internal temperature. When you get hot, your body gets rid of the excess heat by circulating blood to the skin or sweating. However, when the air temperature is close to or warmer than your normal body temperature, cooling off becomes a problem. You can’t escape the heat. Overexposure to heat might cause you to lose focus, become irritable or sick and lose the desire to drink. You might also experience sweaty palms and dizziness. In the worst case scenario, overexposure can result in heat-related illnesses such as heat rash, heat cramps, heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Fortunately, there are many ways to prevent overexposure. 

How to Stay Cool

Excessive heat exposure is avoidable. While you should always wear sunscreen, there are additional measures you can take to protect yourself.

  • Drink lots of fluids. By drinking water and sports drinks, you replace the fluids and salts lost to sweat, allowing you to produce more sweat. Hydration also helps your body maintain a normal temperature.
  • Get used to the heat. Before you spend an entire summer day outside, allow your body to build up a heat tolerance. Try gradually increasing your outdoor time. It could be weeks before your body is acclimated to the heat.
  • Find relief with lower temperatures. Take frequent breaks from the heat. It is best to seek refuge in a building with air conditioning. If you do not have immediate access to shelter, try to find a shady or cool spot outside.
  • Remember the three L’s of clothing. When you spend time outside, wear loose-fitting, lightweight and light-colored clothes.
  • Wear a hat. Hats might not be everybody’s favorite fashion statement, but everybody needs one. Find a style that will shield you from sunburn.

High temperatures create high risks. While you should still have fun in the sun, be aware of the dangers of heat exposure, and remember to stay cool. Find more tips on outdoor safety.

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