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7.03.2014

Staying Safe in the Summer Heat

As the days get warmer, it becomes increasingly important to stay hydrated and keep your body cool. Whether you are spending a leisurely day at the beach or going for an outdoor run, you should make sure that you are taking the proper steps to prevent dehydration and overheating.

Tips to stay hydrated:

Keep water on hand: Take a water bottle with you before leaving the house and drink from it throughout the day. Feeling thirsty is a signal that your body is already on the way to dehydration, so drink up!

Snack on hydrating fruits and veggies: Peaches, oranges, cucumber, carrots, watermelon, and grapes all taste great and help to re-hydrate!

Drink water before, during, and after exercising: If you are doing low to moderate activity for less than an hour, water is sufficient. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends that for every 15-20 minutes you exercise, drink 3 to 8 fluid ounces of water (if you’re not exceeding 60 minutes of exercise).

However, if you are exercising for over an hour, particularly in extreme heat, you should consider supplementing water with your choice of electrolyte replacement. The ACSM recommends that when exercising for an hour or more, for every 15-20 minutes you exercise, drink 3 to 8 fluid ounces of a sports beverage (containing 5 to 8 percent carbohydrates, along with electrolytes). Also, avoid drinking more than more than a quart during an hour of exercise.

Tips to stay cool:

Dress appropriately: Lightweight, light-colored clothes help reflect sunlight away from your body and help keep heat levels down. Wear clothes that are made of cotton or a sweat-wicking material. Protect your face with a wide-brimmed hat, and wear sunscreen.

Choose the time you spend outdoors wisely: The temperature tends to be cooler in the early morning and early evening. If you are going to spend time outside during peak heat, opt for shady areas and try to avoid direct sunlight.

Listen to your body: If you start to feel lightheaded or faint, take a break from whatever you are doing, have some water, and find a cool area to rest in.

Know the signs of a heat-related illness: Visit the CDC’s Extreme Heat and Your Health website to learn about the warning signs of heat-related illness. If you suspect that you or someone you are with is experiencing heat stroke, call 911 immediately.

With just a little planning and preparation, you and your loved ones can stay cool and refreshed on hot summer days. Enjoy the warm weather and stay safe!

If you’re a Health Advocate member with access to the Wellness Coaching program, reach out to your Wellness Coach for more information on how to stay cool and hydrated during the summer months.