The heat can certainly take its toll in the warmer months of the year. And with the hotter months seeming to last longer and longer, it’s important to know how to safely be exposed to heat. To avoid heat sickness, dehydration, or other ailments caused by heat, use these tips to ensure your summer and beyond is safe and enjoyable – whether you’re sweating it out under the sun or in an infrared sauna.
Summer Heat Safety Tips
Staying hydrated is always the number one priority when it comes to your health. This tip applies every day, not just when you’re in the heat! However, staying hydrated while in the heat is more of a safety tip than a general health tip. When you are hot you tend to sweat more, which in turn makes your body lose water at a faster rate than usual. Becoming dehydrated is a serious risk in extreme heat, especially if it is accompanied by vigorous exercise. Always have water on hand if you are exercising outdoors, and know where you can easily find water elsewhere if doing any other activity.
If you are continually drinking water but still feel dehydrated, look into incorporating electrolytes into your water. Electrolytes can help replenish essential minerals such as sodium, calcium, and potassium that help you properly maintain water and stay healthy.
Wear Appropriate Clothing
In the hotter months, what you wear is especially important. Look at the weather and determine your activities if you can before leaving the house to get a good gauge of what to wear. Choose clothes that are lightweight and breathable that won’t trap additional heat. Material really matters here, as one tank top can be itchy and hot while another is lightweight and cooling.
It also helps to have clothing that can protect you from the sun, which can cause serious injuries such as sunburn with prolonged exposure. Sleeves might not immediately sound comfortable in the heat, but lightweight sleeves can be barely noticeable while protecting you from the sun’s rays.
Avoid Prolonged Exposure
Spending too much time in the heat can lead to some fairly serious if not careful. A large part of heat illness prevention is avoiding prolonged exposure if you can. In the event of heat or sun exposure becoming too overwhelming for you, seek out shade or a way to cool yourself down. Removing yourself from the situation might not always be an option, so it helps to research your activity beforehand so you can be prepared to bring your own source of shade or cooling.
When exposed to the heat for any amount of time, if you are feeling faint, then rest! Listen to your body when it is telling you that you’re reaching your limits. Do activities in the heat in increments to get your body acclimated to the temperature. Heat can make any activity even more strenuous on your body.
Use Sun Protection
As mentioned above, protecting your skin from sun exposure is highly recommended. If you are exposed to heat outdoors, you’re likely getting hit with the sun’s rays as well. Protect yourself with sun protection such as sunscreen, UV shirts, hats, and sunglasses. Sun damage cannot be reversed, and even small amounts of exposure can build up over time. And whether or not you’ve been in the sun, extend your skin protection by using moisturizers and drinking water. Moisturized skin is healthy skin and can help alleviate discomfort from dry skin or burns.
If you are spending time outside, you run the risk of spending too much time in the sun – which can cause a red, irritated, and painful sunburn to occur. If your sunburn lasts for more than a few days or you experience extreme symptoms, seek the help of a medical provider. Excessive or extreme sunburns can lead to the growth of skin cancer over time, so it’s important to take steps to prevent sunburn.
Heat exhaustion happens when your body fails to cool itself and overheats due to dehydration, overactivity, or extreme heat. Symptoms typically consist of dizziness, excessive sweating, nausea, muscle cramps, and headache. If you think you are experiencing heat exhaustion, stop whatever activity you are doing, move to shade or a cool spot, and drink chilled water.
If the symptoms of heat exhaustion are ignored, the condition can progress into heatstroke. Like heat exhaustion, your body has failed to cool itself down to a healthy level, which can cause systems to shut down. Heatstroke is a serious condition and should be treated by a medical professional immediately to prevent damage to the heart, brain, kidney, and muscles.
Sauna Heat Safety Tips
While heat exhaustion and heat stroke can sound pretty daunting, especially when they can happen pretty quickly if exposed to extreme heat. So what does that mean for saunas? It depends on the type! A far infrared heater with a surface temperature of approximately 180-200° F, like our Clearlight True Wave™ Heaters, produces much higher quality far infrared heat than a heater running at 450 degrees or, as some heaters do, 700 degrees. This makes the risk of heat-related illness lower in infrared saunas than in traditional saunas.
No matter if you use a traditional sauna or an infrared sauna, exposure to heat can be safe and healthy with the right precautions. There are a number of things to keep in mind with heat illness prevention in a sauna. The most important thing to take into consideration is your comfort level. If you are feeling uncomfortable in the heat after 5 minutes, then end your session there. You can gradually work your way up until you’re comfortable with a longer session. Always have water on hand to keep yourself hydrated, and wear appropriate clothing to avoid overheating.
Whether using a sauna or feeling the heat from the sun, keep these heat safety tips in mind to keep you healthy! Heat can be an excellent tool in your health, and when handled properly, you’ll be able to enjoy more time in the heat without fear of heat illness.