We are now past the mid-point of summer, but the hot temperatures show no sign of mercy. August is National Heat Stroke Awareness Month, and it’s a great time to review some tips for staying safe in the sweltering, southern heat. It’s especially important right now as school is back in session and athletes are starting football practice, marching band and other activities that require long periods of time outdoors.
Based in Northwest Arkansas, the Kendrick Fincher Hydration for Life organization promotes hydration education and safety for young athletes to protect against heat related illness. The foundation information says that youth are at a higher risk of heat related illness because smaller bodies heat up faster. Also, children often don’t have the desire to drink enough fluids during active periods of play.
Heat related illness generally happens in phases. First, a person might experience dehydration. Then, it will progress into heat exhaustion, and possibly, heat stroke. Heat related illnesses are very dangerous, but also preventable.
The Kendrick Fincher Hydration for Life foundation recommends that a person should figure their weight divided by 2, and have a goal to drink that number in ounces of water each day, in order to stay properly hydrated.
In addition to staying hydrated, there are other tips to being safe in the summer heat. Wearing light, loose-fitting clothing is always best, and make sure to schedule lots of breaks for resting in the shade.
These are the most common warning signs of dehydration:
- Extreme thirst
- Muscle cramps
As we move through the rest of summer, be aware of your body’s level of hydration. It’s always best to drink lots of water when you will be outdoors or doing a high level of physical activity. This is a good reminder for young people, athletes and people of all ages. Above all, it’s smart to speak with a doctor to help you make a plan to stay safe during hot summer months of working or playing outdoors. To find out more about heat related illness prevention, visit the Kendrick Fincher Hydration for Life website.
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