(CARLSBAD, CA) – “There ain’t no cure for the summertime blues,” or so it seems, when the blazing sun wreaks havoc on your outdoor adventures all summer long. The good news is that you can protect yourself against both mild and severe heat-related illnesses. Donning sunscreen is just the first step. Learning about common summertime health hazards is imperative for hot weather safety.
Heat Cramps – The most common heat-related malady involves pain in the legs, arms, or abdomen. These heat cramps usually occur when you exercise in hot weather. The activity causes you to sweat profusely, depleting minerals in your body. The lack of minerals creates muscle spasms, typically lasting a few minutes. The best way to counteract the cramps is to rest, stretch or massage your muscles, and drink fluids. The cramps will subside in about one hour.
Heat Rash – Sweating buckets on a hot day can also lead to heat rash. Clogged ducts trap sweat in your skin, creating a red, itchy rash. If you notice such symptoms, try powder, calamine lotion, or a cool shower to lessen your itchiness. Better yet, avoid heat rash altogether by wearing loose-fitting, light-colored clothing.
Heat Exhaustion – If you feel dizzy, lightheaded, fatigued, or nauseous while out in the sun, you may be suffering from heat exhaustion. It typically occurs if you have lost too much water or salt through sweating. As soon as you notice symptoms of heat exhaustion, stop activity immediately. Rest in a cool place, lying flat with your feet elevated, and drink water and electrolyte fluids. Try dipping a towel in ice water to cool your body quickly. Seek medical help if you don’t feel better within a short time.
Heat Stroke – The most dangerous of all heat-related illnesses is heat stroke. Early symptoms are the same as those of heat exhaustion. If you experience those symptoms and do not cool down immediately, you may begin to develop a severe headache, slurred speech, hallucinations, and seizures. A heat stroke victim must be cooled down immediately with anything available – wet towels, a fan, liquids, or ice. Cool packs placed on the wrists, ankles, groin, armpits, and neck are best. Get medical attention immediately, as heat stroke can be a life-threatening condition.
Knowing what to do at the onset of heat-related infirmities may save your fun in the sun, or even save your life. And taking a few precautions can prevent these health hazards altogether. Judi Sheppard Missett, founder and CEO of Jazzercise, Inc. offers these recommendations for staying safe in the summertime sun:
- Drink at least 16 ounces of fluid before heading outside, and continue to drink plenty of liquids throughout the day.
- Reduce the amount of time that you spend outside on hot days.
- Take off your hat every hour for a few minutes to allow for heat loss that occurs through your head.
- Stay in an air-conditioned room during the hottest part of the day.
- Jump in the swimming pool, take a shower, or use a spray bottle to cool yourself down.
- Eat fresh, juicy fruits, such as grapes or watermelon.
- Get used to hot weather slowly. If you exercise or perform chores outside, start with a short time period and gradually increase the amount of time each day.
Jazzercise, created by Judi Sheppard Missett, is the world's leading dance-fitness program with more than 7,500 instructors teaching 32,000 classes weekly in the U.S. and around the globe. Since 1969, millions of people of all ages and fitness levels have reaped the benefits of this comprehensive program, designed to enhance cardiovascular endurance, strength, and flexibility. For more information on Jazzercise go to jazzercise.com or call (800)FIT-IS-IT or (760)476-1750.