Staying safe in the summer heat

By on May 24, 2014

By Sammie Hill–

Although the warmth of summer facilitates enticing things like sun-tans, bathing suits and boating, summer heat can also pose a danger to those who fail to take the proper precautions. Students should strive to be aware of the dangers that come along with high temperatures and take the necessary steps to prevent the harmful effects of summer heat.

 

Stay hydrated

While exercising or being outdoors, staying hydrated is essential to summer safety. Kentucky heat often becomes sweltering in the summer, and many individuals fail to recognize the loss of hydration that can occur as a result.

When hiking through the park, taking a bike ride, or lying by the pool, students should always bring a source of hydration with them. Grabbing a Gatorade or water bottle before leaving the house is a quick and easy way to avoid the harmful consequences of dehydration. The body responds to dehydration in a number of ways, such as inducing headaches, dizziness, dry mouth, constipation and delirium. In some cases, it can even cause unconsciousness.

 

Wear your sunscreen

While adults and commercials have preached the importance of sunscreen to us since we were children, many people still overlook it as a critical part of summer safety. While it is easy to forget, the consequences of not using sunscreen can be painful and long-lasting. Aloe vera may ease the pain of a sunburn after a few days, but prolonged exposure to sun rays can cause costly and potentially life-threatening damage down the road.

Skin cancer, sun spots, premature wrinkles and more exemplify the long term effects of failing to use sunscreen. Thus, students should strive to consistently use sunscreen when spending time outdoors. Remembering to re-apply after a certain period of time is also a critical part of helping to prevent sunburns and future health problems down the road.

 

Be aware of your body

Although it is easy to get caught up in the fun of spending summer days lounging by the pool, out on the boat or playing corn hole outside with friends, students should make a conscious effort to remain aware of their bodies when exposed to the summer heat. Feelings of dizziness, disorientation or overheating should not be ignored.

Recognizing changes in your body can prompt early action, such as re-hydrating, taking a break to go indoors or moving to a more shaded area. This can help prevent severe consequences like heat cramps, loss of consciousness, heat exhaustion, dehydration and even heat stroke. Paying attention to bodily discomfort or other concerning changes can help students take steps to prevent these harmful consequences of the heat, allowing them to remedy the problem early and continue enjoying their fun activities of summer.

About Olivia Krauth

Asst. Editor in Chief at The Louisville Cardinal.

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