Hot Weather Brings Health ConcernsEverybody loves summertime and the chance to spend those long, summer days outdoors enjoying time with friends and families. Be careful though, because too much time in the sun can lead to heat exhaustion, or in extreme cases, heat stroke. Below, we’ll explain the difference between those two heat-related conditions, and provide you with some simple things you can do to minimize your risk.

Heat Exhaustion vs. Heat Stroke

Your body’s primary method of dealing with heat is to keep cool via the evaporation of sweat. People who live in areas with relatively low humidity have an advantage on this front, because high humidity slows the process. Heat exhaustion is basically your body’s way of telling you that it can’t keep you cool enough. The typical symptoms here are feelings of dizziness, general weakness and/or nausea.

Heat stroke is a more severe form of heat exhaustion, which sees you experiencing all of the symptoms described above, plus seizures or muscle cramps and have an internal body temperature above 104 degrees. Of the two, heat stroke is considerably more dangerous and can cause organ failure and brain damage, so it’s not something to be taken lightly.

How You Can Prevent It

The biggest and most important thing you can do if you’ll be out in the sun for extended periods this summer is to stay properly hydrated! Never go anywhere without a water supply, and top off your cup, jug, or bottle at every opportunity. Not far behind that is to wear sunscreen (at least SPF 15). This, combined with wearing proper clothing will help you minimize your chances of becoming overheated.

It’s also important to regulate your activity on especially hot days. Yes, you might be used to walking three miles a day, but when it’s 110 degrees outside, you may want to consider cutting your walk short. The longer you perform strenuous exercise in the hot sun, the higher your risk.

By all means, enjoy the summer sun, but stay safe out there!