Staying Cool this Summer is Cool for You!
Summer months are great in Nebraska! We love the longer days and enjoy all the outdoor activities that go along with fun in the sun! However, to be on top of your game whether you’re working in the field, playing a soccer game or running to home base, it’s essential that you stay hydrated and prevent heat illnesses. Small children and older adults are particularly at risk. Older adults on certain medications should avoid activities in high heat and humidity and follow their physician’s orders.
Helpful healthy hints include:
• Dress for the warmer weather. Wear loose, lightweight clothing that allows air movement.
• Drink water 30 minutes prior to the activity.
• During activity, replace fluids frequently. For children, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends 5 oz for an 88 pound child for every 20 minutes of activity and 9 oz for a 132 pound adolescent every 20 minutes. Overall, drink according to the amount of sweating/fluid loss and consider drinking a sports drink, such a Gatorade, as well as water to refill some of the nutrients lost with exercise and sweating.
• After the activity, drink fluids to make up for the fluids lost. A great way to judge is to weigh in before the activity and weight in after:. One lb weight loss should be replaced with 16 oz of fluid.
• Schedule heavy work during the coolest parts of the day and take breaks in the shade or a cool area.
Symptoms to be aware of that may lead to heat illness, (heat exhaustion) include decreased performance, dizziness, dry or sticky mouth, extreme fatigue, headache, irritability, muscle cramping and thirst, and very dark-colored urine. You need to remove the person to a cool area, cool the body and have the person drink some cool water or a sports drink. If unable to drink fluids get medical attention immediately. Be aware that heat exhaustion can be a cumulative problem that occurs after several days of heat exposure. Those suffering from heat exhaustion should be advised to avoid further heat exposure for 3 or 4 days.
Symptoms that could be life threatening( heat stroke) and you would need to call 911 include: collapse, confusion, dizziness, headache, hot skin, nausea, emotional instability, disoriented, and a very high body temperature.
A heat stroke is a condition that occurs when the body becomes unable to control its temperature and can cause death or permanent disability. First aid measures you can use before EMS arrives would be to move the person to a cool, shaded area, remove excess clothing and apply cool water to their body.
Stay in the game, stay cool, hydrated and be mentally on top. Your thinking improves with a healthy brain that has plenty of fluids as well! According to the Institute of Medicine, if you weigh each morning and note a drop in weight by more than 1 pound from the day before and your urine color is more like apple juice than lemonade, dehydration is likely and you should pay extra attention to fluid intake during the day.