Summer is fast approaching and with the season comes the sun and the heat. Sunny weather can mean fun adventures outdoors, but it can also lead to dangers of heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Before spending time outside, it is very important to know what signs to look for.

Heatstroke

  • High body temperature
  • Altered mental state or behavior.
  • Alteration in sweating
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Flushed skin
  • Rapid breathing
  • Racing heart rate
  • Headache

When in doubt, call 911 and seek medical attention as soon a possible

Heat Exhaustion

  • Cool, moist skin with goosebumps when in the heat
  • Heavy sweating
  • Faintness
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Weak, rapid pulse
  • Low blood pressure upon standing
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea
  • Headache


Now that you know a little more about heatstroke and heat exhaustion, let’s look at a few other things to take into consideration when having fun in the sun.

A few tips to keep children safe in the heat

  • Limit time in direct sunlight (especially during midday hours). Look for shade, or make your own with umbrellas, tents, or wide-brimmed hats
  • Bring water along whenever you are going to be outside in the sun — for drinking as well as putting on the skin to cool down
  • Keep an eye on the forecast as you plan outdoor ventures, especially active ones; check the temperature and the humidity, and plan accordingly
  • Take plenty of breaks and check over how everyone is feeling, look for signs of sunburn, exhaustion, etc. Every child is different; some may be fine when others are getting into trouble.
  • Check surface temperatures of slides and other playground equipment before allowing children to climb on
  • Run water through hoses for a few minutes to ensure all hot water has been expelled to avoid boiling/burning temperatures
  • Small kiddie pools can heat up fast, make sure to check temperatures before allowing children to jump in

Sunscreen & Sunburns

  • Overcast and cloudy does not mean you are safe from sun damage
    • Apply sunscreen when you plan to venture outdoors
  • Ask your doctor or pharmacist if any of your medications increase your chance of sun damage
  • What is SPF?
    • According to the American Cancer Society, “The SPF number is the level of protection the sunscreen provides against UVB rays. Higher SPF numbers do mean more protection, but the higher you go, the smaller the difference becomes. SPF 15 sunscreens filter out about 93% of UVB rays, while SPF 30 sunscreens filter out about 97%, SPF 50 sunscreens about 98%, and SPF 100 about 99%. No sunscreen protects you completely. The FDA requires any sunscreen with SPF below 15 to carry a warning that it only protects against sunburn, not skin cancer or skin aging.” – ACS, Choosing the Right Sunscreen
  • What is “broad spectrum” protection? 
    • Sunscreens with this label protect against both UVA and UVB rays.
  • “Water resistant” does not mean “waterproof.” 
    • No sunscreens are waterproof or “sweatproof,” and manufacturers are not allowed to claim that they are.
  • Put on more sunscreen every 40 to 80 minutes, or sooner if it has washed off from swimming or sweating. If you’re also using insect repellent, apply the sunscreen first. 
  • Sun protection clothing
    • A great option if you have reactions to sunscreens
    • Can be worn along with sunscreen
    • Research companies and ask a doctor for recommendations to ensure you purchase the correct clothing for your situation
  • Sunglasses
    • Choose sunglasses with UVA and UVB protection
    • Check the UV rating on the label when buying new glasses
    • Darker lenses are not necessarily better at blocking UV rays
    • Wear sunglasses that fit close to your face and have wraparound frames that block sunlight from all angles
  • Sunburn
    • Pink or redness of the skin
    • Skin feels hot to the touch
    • Pain, tenderness, and itching
    • Blisters may occur
    • Fever, headache, nausea, and fatigue (if severe burn happens)

Extreme Heat

What is it? High heat and humidity with temperatures above 90 degrees for 2-3 or more days. When there are periods of extreme heat, our bodies work extra hard to keep a normal temperature, which can lead to death.

“Extreme heat is responsible for the highest number of annual deaths among all weather-related hazards”

Ready.Gov

The best thing you can do is to prepare for the heat now, take precautions during, and know the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses so that you can respond quickly. Extreme Heat Information


Hopefully, you feel a little more prepared to get out and about in the sun. Remember, if you are unsure of something, ask a medical professional. Have fun and stay safe!

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