Summertime in Florida give us the chance to escape to the beach for weekend trips or plan a cookout in the backyard. Long afternoons call for playing sports in the park or splashing around in the pool. With the temperatures rising, it’s also an important time of year to be vigilant about the dangers of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
Spending extended periods of time in the heat, particularly if you’re doing strenuous activities like yard work or exercising, can result in exertional heat illness or heat exhaustion. While this is not an immediate medical emergency, it can become one if you’re not careful.
Our bodies typically do a good job of keeping us cool, but with temperatures consistently reaching the 90s, it can be easy to put ourselves in danger of overheating. If you start to develop symptoms such as dizziness, nausea and vomiting, cold, pale and clammy skin or muscle cramping, you may be experiencing heat exhaustion.
Here are a few tips to cool down if your start to over heat:
- Move to a shaded or air conditioned area and lay down
- Immerse yourself in cool water or use cold, wet towels to cool off.
- Drink water or a sports drink to replenish electrolytes
- Remove any excessive tight fitting clothing or equipment
If there’s no improvement, or you begin to experience confusion, loss of consciousness or seizures, it could mean that you’re suffering from a heat stroke and you should seek medical attention immediately.
Heat stoke happens when your core body temperature rises above 104°F due to heat exposure and can quickly damage your brain, heart, kidneys and muscles. This is a life-threatening emergency and you should immediately call 911 or take your loved one to the nearest emergency room.
With the hot temperatures we experience in Tallahassee, planning ahead is an important step in preventing the dangers of excessive heat. Here are some recommendations:
- Schedule your outdoor activities before noon or in the evening after 5:00pm to avoid the hottest part of the day
- Wear lightly colored, loose fitting clothing
- Wear a hat and don’t forget to apply sunscreen
- Drink plenty of water, even if you aren’t thirsty
- Be particularly watchful of children – they tend to forget to drink sips of water or rest between activities
The Florida heat can be dangerous in these summer months, but simply knowing the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke can ensure a happy and safe summertime for your family.