Summer Health Hazards: Dehydration, Heat Exhaustion, and Heat Stroke
July 24, 2020

Summer Health Hazards

The summer season is one of the most fun because you get the chance to spend a lot of time in the great outdoors. But, as the temperature rises, there also tends to be more cases of people suffering from heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and dehydration. Even if you are healthy, these summer health hazards can happen, so it is best to take the proper precautions to reduce your risk. That way, you can have fun in the sun all summer, without needing to worry about requiring medical care.
To better understand these three summer health hazards, check out the information below.

3 Summer Health Hazards to Know About 

1. Dehydration 

Of the three summer health hazards we’ll discuss, dehydration is the most common. In fact, according to UFHealth, up to ¾ of Americans aren’t drinking enough water, which means they’re chronically dehydrated. Yikes!

Put simply, when your body loses too much water through things like urination/excretion and sweating, and you aren’t replenishing that water by drinking, you become dehydrated.

As you probably guessed, when humidity and heat levels climb in the summer, your body loses more fluid, so the risk of dehydration can increase. The symptoms of dehydration include:

  • Dark yellow urine
  • Reduced urine
  • Irritability
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Delayed reaction time
  • Thirst

If you think you might be dehydrated, it’s best to drink some water right away, but don’t overdo it. Starting with 8 to 16 ounces of water, and keeping track of symptoms, is a good place to begin, unless your doctor tells you otherwise.

2. Heat Exhaustion 

Another one of the common summer health hazards is heat exhaustion, which is the result of the body overheating.

If you are working hard in the great outdoors, or you are spending time exercising outside, particularly before your body has adjusted to the heat, you might end up with heat exhaustion. And, if you don’t treat it promptly, it can progress, resulting in heat stroke.

What are the symptoms of heat exhaustion? Well, they include:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Exhaustion/fatigue
  • Lethargy
  • Weakness
  • Weak pulse
  • Nausea
  • Muscle cramps
  • Delayed reaction time
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Moist skin that is cool, even in the heat

When heat exhaustion occurs, it’s important to stop activity, move yourself to a cool place, and monitor your symptoms. If you don’t start feeling better within one hour, go the emergency room.

3. Heat Stroke 

The most serious of the summer health hazards is heat stroke.

When heat exhaustion isn’t treated promptly, it can develop into heat stroke. Basically, when your body becomes overheated and stays that way, systems throughout it start to shut down. Left untreated, it can lead to organ damage, and this can also be life threatening.

The symptoms of heat stroke include:

  • Confusion
  • Lethargy
  • Fainting
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Rapid heart rate and breathing
  • Flushed skin
  • Failure to rouse
  • Core body temperature of 104° or higher

At this point, it’s important to move to a place that is cooler, and work on cooling the body down with cold compresses or running water around the neck, in the groin area, and under the armpits. Also, call 911 for help.

Summer Exercise Tips 

If you want to exercise in the summer by heading outside, there are some things to keep in mind to avoid the hazards discussed above. After all, while it’s important to lose belly fat and build muscle, you don’t want to put the rest of your health at risk in the process!

  • Stick with exercising during the morning or evening, when temperatures are cooler.
  • Use light-colored clothing that is breathable.
  • If the temperature is 80° or higher, and the humidity level is at 80% or more, it’s best to skip the outdoor workout.
  • Drink water before your workout. Avoid caffeinated beverages.

Stay Safe This Summer! 

Now that you know about some of the biggest summer health hazards, you can take steps to avoid them, and you can help others stay safe as well.

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