Summer is finally here, and the warmth of the sun feels great — at first! But what about those days when the heat begins to take a toll on your physical and emotional health? From just not feeling well to developing serious conditions such as heat cramps, heat exhaustion, dehydration and heat stroke, heat and humidity can have a big impact on your health. Similar to how we put on extra layers, turn up the heat, and favor comfort foods and hot beverages in the winter, there are steps we can take to stay cool and feel healthy all summer long.
Dress for Success
Appropriate outdoor attire can be a challenge in the summer. On one hand, you want to stay cool. On the other, you want to protect your skin from the sun. Experts recommend wearing loose-fitting, light-colored clothing made of lightweight, breathable materials such as cotton. When it’s too hot for long pants and sleeves, be sure to apply sunscreen to all exposed skin before going out.
Timing is Everything
Because the sun is strongest in the middle of the day, arrange your schedule so that outdoor activities are planned early in the morning or later in the day. When you are out midday, stay in the shade as much as you can and don’t overexert yourself.
Keeping Your Cool Indoors
When heat and humidity are high, the best place to be is indoors with the air conditioning on. No need to stay at home, though. Village at Proprietors Green offers a range of activities and outings for residents and their families all summer long. Whether it’s a trip to the beach, going to the mall, visiting the library, taking in a movie or enjoying lunch at a local restaurant. If you are at home, try to keep the hot air out by keeping windows and blinds closed and using fans to help your air conditioner circulate cool air.
Checking in With Your Personal Physician
Before the summer gets into full swing it is an excellent idea to check in with your personal physician or primary care provider. They may have additional advice and counsel on how best to stay healthy and safe this summer, and may tailor their recommendations to your specific needs.
You Are What You Eat
We all know that staying hydrated is essential, so drink plenty of water and/or drinks that have electrolytes, particularly when the thermometer is high and even if you don’t feel thirsty. Many nutritionists suggest eating frequent, small meals so that your body can conserve the energy needed to digest large ones. And take advantage of cooling foods and drinks like cold fruits, cold soups and smoothies. Avoid drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes because they contribute to dehydration.
Feeling the Heat
If heat is making you feel poorly, take steps to cool your body. But don’t hesitate to contact your healthcare provider if you are concerned. There are several things you can do on your own, such as taking a tepid bath or shower (not cold because your body will shiver and generate more heat). Placing cool cloths on your neck and face often provides relief. So can soaking your feet in cool water.
Listen to Your Body
Your body should let you know if heat and humidity are too much to handle. If you notice that you’ve stopped sweating, have a headache, feel nauseous or light-headed, have muscle cramps, or just don’t feel right, let a friend, relative or healthcare provider know right away so they can get help when you need it.
Enjoy the summer, stay safe and cool!