We are all ready for the joy of summer sun and outdoor activities. Shedding our winter gear for flip flops and tank tops and heading to the ballparks, has many of us excited!

But as the temperatures soar this season, we should all keep in mind that the heat can be dangerous if we fail to pay attention to a few factors.

Some people are more susceptible than others. For example, older adult bodies don’t adapt to heat fluctuations as quickly as younger ones. Older adults may also take medications that react with the head and create an overheating situation much faster than normal. For infants and young children, most often deaths occur because they are accidentally left or forgotten in a hot car. Newer vehicles have a reminder signal upon turning the car off. However, you can devise a reminder by simply placing your handbag in the back seat, placing a stuffed animal in the front seat when the kids are in the back or keeping a child’s shoe on the dashboard when they are traveling with you. Hot cars kill kids quickly! 

Playing or working outside is hard work! Kids overheat quickly in the sun and outdoor workers are also at risk. How can you avoid a health emergency? Here are some basic precautions for both old and young:

  1. Dress in loose-fitting, sun-resistant clothing.
  2. Wear a hat.
  3. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Try to stay away from sugary drinks and alcohol.
  4. Try to avoid being in direct sunlight during the hottest part of the day.
  5. Use your sunscreen!

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has some helpful guidelines on recognizing heat-related illness and what to do if you or someone near you is experiencing heat illness.

Heat Rash

Symptoms – small red clusters of pimple-like bumps.

Treatment – Keep cool and dry.


Symptoms – Painful red skin, warm to the touch. Several degrees of sunburn.

Treatment – Stay out of the sun until the sunburn has healed. Cool compresses. Do not break any blisters that may occur.

Heat Cramps

Symptoms – Muscle spasms/cramps and heavy sweating, occurring during exercise

Treatment – Discontinue physical activity, drink a sports drink or water. Seek medical attention if symptoms last more than one hour or if you have a heart condition.

Heat Exhaustion

Symptoms – Heavy sweating, cold, clammy skin, dizziness, nausea, headache or fainting.

Treatment – Move to a cool place, sip water, and apply a cool wet cloth to the body. Seek medical attention if you are vomiting, symptoms last more than one hour or worsen.

Heat Stroke

Symptoms – Confusion, hot dry or damp skin, or your body temperature is above 103 degrees Fahrenheit, dizzyness, loss of consciousness.

Treatment – Call 911 IMMEDIATELY. This is a medical emergency. Move to a cooler location and use a cool wet cloth on the skin while awaiting EMS arrival.

Let’s all enjoy the summer without any heat-related illness. The number one way to avoid experiencing any of the above illnesses is to hydrate. Be sure to get plenty of water and bring extra water when you plan to be outside in high temperatures. Be well this summer!