With summer steadily on its way, residents across the Triangle are prepping for all the fun that goes with it. From outdoor sports to gardening to lake days to farmer’s markets to long weekends at the beach, the Raleigh-Durham area is filled with ample opportunities to enjoy the beautiful summer weather.
But before you get swept up into the endless activities, here are a few reminders about how to protect yourself and those you love from the summer heat and those hot North Carolina days. Remember the following 8 tips to stay safe this season.
That reminder to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day is accurate, at least as a basic standard. But when the summer weather gets hot, and if you’re active at all, you may need to increase your water intake. It’s smart to focus on sipping on water throughout the day, from the time you wake up and before you eat. If you don’t enjoy drinking water, try adding some flavor to a glass, like a slice of cucumber, fresh strawberry, or an herb like basil to entice your taste buds. And be sure to carry around a water bottle with you that you can sip on all day so you can easily see how much you’re consuming.
Slather on the SPF
The American Academy of Dermatology Association recommends everyone wear sunscreen to protect skin from the sun’s harmful rays. They recommend using a broad-spectrum sunscreen to protect from the sun’s UVA and UVB rays, with an SPF of 30 or higher. Make sure it’s water-resistant and re-apply sunscreen every two hours. Also, keep babies under 6 months old out of the sun if possible.
Wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothes
Set yourself up for a fun summer day by wearing the right clothes for the summer heat. Tight-fitting clothes soak up sweat, so wear clothes that fit more loosely, which will help you stay dry and comfortable. Dark-colored clothes tend to absorb the sun’s rays, so wear lighter colors to stay cooler in the heat and humidity. And don’t forget to keep your outfits lightweight to your comfort level at its best. Finally, grab a hat to keep your head and face protected from the overhead rays, too.
Be safe in the outdoors
If you’re planning on gardening, exercising outdoors, or playing a sport in the heat, make sure you know how to best care for yourself. If, at any time, you start to feel nauseated, have unusual cramping, or start to get irritable, it may be a sign you’re dealing with something like heat exhaustion or heat cramps. One of the best ways to stay safe in the outdoors is to be aware of the signs that you’ve had too much sun or heat. Be watching for the signs and make sure you’re following all of these tips to ensure you’re well-protected.
Take breaks from the heat
While some people, such as the elderly or those from more mild climates, may be more at risk for heat-related exhaustion, it’s a good reminder to know that anyone can be at risk. If you are set on exercising in the heat, try to exercise first thing in the morning when it’s cooler. Make sure you’re taking small breaks from being in the heat and sun, and don’t forget to drink plenty of water. And if you feel any of those signs of heat exhaustion or cramping, get inside immediately to give yourself a break.
Take cool showers before heading outdoors
Before you head out into the heat, a cool shower can help you successfully prepare for the heat of the day. Cool showers can help improve your circulation, boost your immunity, and reduce inflammation in your body. Just make sure you don’t move directly from the heat to a cold shower, which can cause serious health effects if you aren’t careful.
Don’t leave kids or pets in the car
It only takes 10 minutes for a car to reach high temperatures on hot days. For kids and pets that have a hard time regulating their temperatures, this means leaving them in a car for any extended period can be dangerous. Even if you’re running in for a quick errand, it’s best to take your child inside or leave your pet at home. This will ensure the safety of the family members you love and who rely on you for their needs.
Check on friends or family
If you have friends or family members who live alone and who may be more susceptible to the summer heat, check on them regularly. The sick and elderly tend to lose their ability to regular their temperatures, particularly if they are on certain medications. If you check on someone who might be exhibiting signs of heat-related health conditions, including confusion, fainting, and fever, you may want to call 911 or get them to a hospital immediately.
While fun in the sun this summer is always the goal, being prepared and knowing how to stay safe is important. Keep these 8 tips in mind before you head out for a day in the sun.
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