Summer is a great time to enjoy the outdoors with your friends and family. But while you’re basking in the sun, your body can be reaching dangerously high temperatures, causing dehydration that can eventually lead to heat stroke – a severe and life-threatening problem that occurs when your body cannot properly cool itself down. Although the process of sweating acts as a way for the body to cool itself down, sometimes sweat is not enough to stop the body from overheating. If you’re not able to get out of the heat or find ways to cool off, the body can progress from heat cramps to a possibly fatal case of heat stroke.
Certain summertime activities and destinations put you at risk to the dangers of heat, especially if you are exposed to the sun for long periods of time and/or doing physical activities outdoors. Some dangerously hot places that you may spend time at this summer include amusement parks, golf courses, the beach, and your own backyard. Here are some of the places you may visit this summer that may make you vulnerable to heat stroke, if not prepared.
Thrill seekers be warned – spending the day at an amusement park in the scorching hot sun can easily cause dehydration, especially if you are spending hours waiting in line or walking around a large, unshaded park. Orlando in Florida – home to Disney World and Universal Studios, two of the top amusement parks in the country – can reach sweltering temperatures of over 100 degrees in the summer. Also, children are more vulnerable to heat stroke than adults, so parents should keep an eye on their little ones while enjoying a day of riding.
Summer vacation gives you more time to spend on the green, but a round of golf can end poorly if you are not taking the proper precautions to avoid heat stroke. With limited shade on the course and games that can last hours, you and your golf buddies should make smart choices, such as using a golf cart to get around, wearing protective clothing like hats and visors, staying hydrated, or simply opting out of a game of golf in extreme heat.
A beach getaway might be on your summer calendar, but days spent sun bathing in the sand can be dangerous for your body. Heat causes more deaths in the United States than any other weather-related condition. Also, drinking alcohol while on vacation raises your risks of becoming dehydrated and potentially suffering from heat stroke. Be sure to drink plenty of water and use an umbrella for shade on hot days.
Hanging out in your backyard on a hot summer day is both enjoyable and relaxing. But if you decide to play a pickup game with your friends or do some yard work around the house, you could easily tire yourself out, become dehydrated, and put yourself at risk of heat stroke. Taking breaks during the day, even if you have to go inside, is essential to keep cool.
If you or a loved one displays symptoms of heat-related illness, please seek immediate medical care. The UPMC Urgent Care Center is open from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m., 7 days a week, ready to provide you with medical care when you need it most.