Don’t Let the August Heat Get You Down
Written by Catherine Earlenbaugh, RN, Westerville Urgent Care Center
The arrival of August makes people start thinking about the end of summer. Many families start preparing for their children to return to school, and fall sports teams start getting serious about training. Although summer is ending, August is usually a hot, muggy month. The average temperature is 85 degrees and the humidity is typically high. This means that the conditions are just right for your children to become overheated or dehydrated. Parents need to consider this as they send their kids out to play and to practice sports.
When the body becomes hot after being in warm weather, it needs to find a way to cool itself. As the body heats up, the brain sends a signal to start sweating. When that moisture evaporates from the skin, the body cools off. At the same time, though, when people sweat, they lose fluids and are at risk of becoming dehydrated. Even worse, if it is very humid outside, it is harder for a person to sweat and easier to become overheated.
Prevent Dehydration in the Summer Heat
To prevent dehydration, follow the steps below and know the symptoms.
- Drink water before, during and after being in the heat.
- Athletes should consume extra fluids, because they are doing more strenuous activity that will increase the amount of sweat they are losing.
- Do not wait until feeling thirsty to start drinking fluids — by then, you have already lost fluids and are becoming dehydrated.
- Symptoms of dehydration include feeling tired, weak or lightheaded and having a fast heartbeat.
Prevent Overheating this August
Sometimes, the body cannot cool itself fast enough and heat exhaustion or heat stoke can occur. To prevent this from happening to you or your child, follow the steps below and know the symptoms of heat sickness.
- Wear lightweight clothes in the heat.
- Take breaks from the heat by going indoors or into the shade.
- Limit outdoor activity during the hottest part of the day.
- Symptoms of becoming overheated include muscle cramps, weakness, nausea, cool or clammy skin and increased thirst.
It is important for parents to know and teach their children the risks of playing in hot weather, as well as these ways to prevent becoming dehydrated or overheated. Teach your children to tell an adult or coach if they start experiencing any of the symptoms of dehydration or overheating. Having your child ask for help can prevent them from becoming sick from the heat and help your child have a safe summer.
As a parent, you never know when your child will need medical attention. Learn when to take your child to an urgent care center or the emergency department.