Senior man exercising outdoors

The heat is on

As the temperatures rise, mowing the lawn or playing tackle football may be on your to-do list. But in order to enjoy outdoor activities this summer, you have to play it smart so you don’t end up with a heat-related illness.

Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System often sees an increase in heat-related complaints as the weather gets hot; particularly people with sports-related heat issues and elderly people whose medications predispose them to difficulties with temperature regulation.

Here are some ways you can play it safe and stay cool this summer:

  • Drink lots of fluids. Water and other non-alcoholic, non-carbonated beverages will keep you hydrated.
  • Stay out of the heat. If you don’t have air conditioning, head to a community center or church during the hottest part of the day. Homes without air conditioning are just as hazardous as being outdoors.
  • Wear sunscreen and clothing that will protect your skin.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing that reflects heat and sunlight and helps your body maintain normal temperatures.
  • Don’t get too much sun. Sunburns make it harder for your body to regulate its temperature.
  • Check on your elderly neighbors.

Know the difference between heat exhaustion and heat stroke:

  • Heat exhaustion is a result of being exposed to high temperatures and not being properly hydrated. Symptoms include confusion, dehydration, fatigue, nausea, muscle aches, sweating and rapid heartbeat.
  • Taking a cool bath, moving to an air conditioned area and drinking hydrating fluids can often relieve heat exhaustion.
  • Without proper attention, heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke. Signs of heat stroke include altered mental state or behavior, high temperature, nausea, flushed skin, rapid breathing, throbbing headache, fainting and racing heartbeat.
  • Heat stroke is a medical emergency. It can kill or cause brain and organ damage.

Call 9-1-1 immediately if you suspect someone has heat stroke.