Hot temperatures and humid conditions during the summer months can become unbearable but for most it can become a threat to their health. By the time summer comes, we want to enjoy being outside, have fun in the sun and enjoy outdoor activities. Many people take vacations during the off months from school with their families but at the same time, endure blazing heat, hot sun hours and dehydration.
It is rare that people take the proper precautions and catch themselves before they get overheated and needing more water to compete with the body’s quick rate of water evaporation. Lax eating and sleeping habits contribute to becoming out of balance along with the increase consumption of alcoholic and caffeinated beverages. Longer day light hours also contribute to sun exposure and exhaustion as we quickly lose track of time, often missing routine meal times, change our food preparation habits and bedtime routines.
Follow these summertime guidelines for a healthier you:
1. Plan outdoor activities during cooler hours. Hotter sun hours usually occur between the hours of 10 AM and 2 PM.Exercise in the early morning or later at night.
2. Use sunscreen over 15 SPU to block out harmful ultraviolet rays. Make sure you apply it 20 minutes BEFORE going out into the sun.
3. Wear clothing suitable for summer weather. Hats, appropriate footwear, and cover-ups around water especially.
4. Protect your eyes with UV sunglasses.
5. Avoid sunburn at all costs. If your skin starts to become itchy, you are already burnt. Get out of the sun immediately and attend to the sunburn.
6. Drink water before going out into the sun and hydrate every hour. If your mouth is thirsty, you are already dehydrated.
7. Drink refreshing water with fresh lemon, lime or freshly squeezed orange with fresh mint. Avoid alcoholic beverages and caffeinated drinks.
8. Stick to meal times and eat healthy snacks and main courses. Eat lighter meals such as salads, fresh vegetables and fruit.
9. Bring water bottles with you when you travel or go shopping.
10. Remember to take routine medication and supplements to maintain balance in the body.
Hot weather will be a challenge for those who do not prepare well or ignore body signals. When your body says enough, listen to it and get the proper attention required. Seek medical help if needed early on if problems arise.
Have fun in the sun and remember to drink water!
Donna Marie Laino, RN