Beating the Heat: 5 Tips to Stay Safe and Healthy This Summer

Nothing signifies summer more than long days and strong heat from the sun. And those long, sunny days are perfect for barbecuing, swimming, hiking, and all kinds of summer fun.

However, it’s also important to stay safe, as there are many health hazards unique to summertime. It’s easy for some afternoon fun in the sun to turn into a serious situation. Consider the following tips to stay safe and healthy this summer:

1. Stay Hydrated

Be sure to drink plenty of water. Generally, health experts say drinking water when you’re thirsty should be enough to keep you hydrated. However, hot and humid temperatures can make you sweat, so you’ll need to keep in mind how much fluid you’re losing and adjust your water intake accordingly.

From dehydration to heat stroke, the consequences of not staying hydrated can be severe. Try to drink a little bit of water every 20 minutes or so. In addition, incorporate hydrating foods into your diet. Hot-weather favorites like cucumber, tomatoes, berries, and melon all have a high water content and can help keep you cool and hydrated in high temperatures.

Don’t forget to stay hydrated when you’re indoors as well. It’s easy to neglect hydration when chores and work assignments make it difficult to think of anything else. By using reminder apps and placing water and the foods listed above within reach will ensure you have enough fluids throughout the day.

2. Use Sunscreen

Avoiding the sun in the summer is all but impossible, so when you head outside, don’t forget to apply sunscreen. Not only will it keep your skin looking healthy and smooth, sunscreen will help prevent sunburns and skin cancer. Consider sporting some summer accessories to keep the sun off of your bare skin, such as a sunhat or light scarf. Even if you limit your outdoor activities to cooler, less sunny parts of the day, you should still wear sunscreen before going out!

3. Wear Sunglasses

Sure, sunglasses are a stylish addition to any summer outfit, but they are also vital to protecting your eyes. UV rays are a risk any time of year, but they are three times as powerful in the summer. Make sure your sunglasses will shield you from 100 percent of UV light and are polarized, as many shades that don’t meet those standards will not offer adequate protection!

4. Stay Inside

In recent years, an increasing number of summers have been breaking records for high temperatures and poor air quality. On those days, the best thing you can do for yourself is simply stay inside. Avoid the hot air and do your best to stay cool. Turn up the air conditioner if you have one, and if not, consider investing in a portable AC.

Though not as effective as central AC, portable units can still provide that much-needed relief from the heat. Fans and homemade swamp coolers can also offer some comfort on days that are hotter than hot.

5. Avoid Bugs

Unfortunately, bugs and mosquitos like the warm weather as much as humans do. Their bites are itchy and uncomfortable, but even worse, they may carry a host of deadly diseases, including West Nile virus, Zika fever, and malaria. Get an effective bug repellent, wear light-colored clothing, and avoid spending time near stagnant water. While avoiding these pesky bugs altogether is virtually impossible, you can at least minimize your exposure to them.

Listen to Your Body

Don’t push yourself too hard. It’s easy to overwork yourself in hot weather, and even your usual level of activity may be overwhelming. Be sure to limit outdoor activity, especially on extremely hot days and during the hottest parts of the day.

Know the warning signs of heat-related illnesses, including heat stroke or exhaustion. Don’t hesitate to contact medical professionals if your symptoms are severe or unrelenting. If you start to feel faint or overheated, be sure to go somewhere cool and rest.

Do your best to take it easy. Visit with friends and family, go on that trip, and hang out by the pool. Summer is a time meant for rest and relaxation, so take that well-deserved break!