As The Weather Company pointed out, much of the country can expect record-breaking heat through August. While sunburns and other forms of skin damage are most associated with these weather conditions, heatstroke and dehydration are also rather common. For instance, in August 2012, some 18,573 people were hospitalized for heatstroke in Japan, the second highest in the country's history (per Japan Today). It's important, then, that you take the steps necessary to protect yourself and your family from these life-threatening conditions.
"Headaches and dizziness are common signs of heatstroke and dehydration."
Here are a few helpful tips to keep in mind whenever the thermometer trends upward:
Recognize the symptoms
The first step to preventing either heatstroke or dehydration is to know the early warning signs.
The Mayo Clinic explained that there are two forms of dehydration. The mild form is marked by dry skin, dizziness, thirst, constipation, dry mouth and diminished urine. The more severe variation is accompanied by rapid breathing, fever, extreme thirst, increased heartbeat, sunken eyes and both dry mouth and mucuous membranes.
The Mayo Clinic added that heatstroke is often accompanied by the same symptoms. However, people will also experience nausea or vomiting, confusion and agitation and a higher body temperature (around 104 degrees Fahrenheit).
One of the easiest and most effective ways to prevent dehydration is to stay properly hydrated. Healthline suggested drinking water throughout the day, and not only when you feel particularly thirsty. You can also rely on juice to stay hydrated, so long as the bottle reads "100 percent juice with no added sugar." Juice has the added bonus of providing other essential nutrients. Just be sure to avoid caffeine and alcohol, as both of these can basically remove moisture from your system. To make sure you're hydrated, regularly check your urine: The clearer it is, the better off you are.
Whereas heatstroke can also be prevented with fluids, MedicineNet explained that it's also important to consider what you're wearing and other accessories. If you're going to be active outside for an extended period, wear lightweight clothes, preferably in light tones. These will help air circulate, and the lighter colors won't absorb quite as much of the sun's rays. You might also consider carrying around an umbrella if you aren't wearing a hat. This will protect more of your body and limit exposure to harmful UV rays.
There is one surefire way to avoid either heatstroke or dehydration. According to the Johns Hopkins Medical School, it's important to schedule your activities around the day's weather. The sun is usually at its peak between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. (per the National Program for Playground Safety).
Even when you are outside, it's always a good idea to take regular breaks, sit in a shaded area and enjoy some water. Many people acclimate themselves to the heat by spending an increasing amount of time outdoors during the summer months. This can be a good way to raise your heat tolerance, but it's important to monitor how you're feeling.
Don't ignore the signs
If ever you think you might be suffering from heatstroke or dehydration, seek out medical care right away. With locations across the Eastern Seaboard, CareWell Urgent Care Centers are equipped to handle both of these conditions before any permanent damage is done.