By Airman 1st Class Grace Nichols
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
As summer approaches and temperatures rise, many will gravitate to participating in outdoors activities; remember to consider the risks that come with heat.
Heat exhaustion and heatstroke are the most serious of all heat-related illnesses. Both are preventable by being aware of the risks and properly hydrating before and after outdoor activities, according to the Center for Disease Control.
“Drinking water consistently throughout the day and topping off the tank an hour before physical activity will ensure proper hydration,” said Jill Hinsley, 19th Aerospace Medicine Squadron dietician. “Consuming water or a sports drink and a light snack such as fruit and lightly salted nuts will help replenish electrolytes after a workout.”
Avoiding heat-related incidents involves more than hydration and nutrition; knowing basic guidelines is helpful and important, especially to those new to the area.
“Getting acclimated to the heat and humidity is very important,” said Jeffery Vaughn, 19th AMDS health promotions director. “Start spending time outdoors before temperatures starts to rise so your body will be used to the heat and avoid direct sunlight to prevent overheating.”
Per the American Red Cross, heat prevention is easy with these 10 hot tips:
Never leave children or pets in a vehicle as the inside temperature of the car can quickly reach 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
Stay hydrated but avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol. If you’re going to drink, do it responsibly.
Avoid extreme temperature changes by checking local weather forecasts.
Avoid dark colors because they absorb the sun’s rays. Instead, wear loose-fitting, lightweight and light-colored clothing.
Slow down, stay indoors and avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day.
Postpone outdoor games and activities during heat waves.
Use a buddy system when working in excessive heat and take frequent breaks when working outdoors.
Check on family, friends and neighbors who don’t have air conditioning and who spend time alone.
Check on animals frequently to ensure they’re not suffering from the heat and have plenty of cool water.
If someone doesn’t have air conditioning, they should choose places to go for relief from the heat during the warmest part of the day such as schools, libraries, theaters and malls.
Regardless of the activity, staying aware of the heat and properly preparing could help prevent illness and possibly save a life.
For more information about proper hydration and heat safety, contact Jill Hinsley at 501-987-7288.