This summer, we've talked a lot about heat safety relative to work environments. But, enjoying fun in the sun is one of the great pastimes of summer when you are at home.
It’s important to protect yourself from sun and hot weather while you’re outdoors. Normally, the body cools itself by sweating, but when the weather is particularly hot and humid, you may not sweat enough to keep yourself cool. When one’s body temperature increases too much, heat-related illnesses can occur. These range from minor irritations like heat rash or cramps, to potentially deadly conditions like heat exhaustion and heat stroke. In fact, each year, heat-related illnesses claim an average of more than 100 lives, according to the National Weather Service. Thousands more seek medical treatment for heat-induced injury and illness.
Here are a few tips to keep yourself and your loved ones safe this summer:
* Choose your outdoor time wisely. Whenever possible, avoid spending time outside during the hottest parts of the day, typically noon to 5 p.m. Choose outdoor activities that you can enjoy in the early morning or evening, such as grilling and dining al fresco or going for a walk.
* Keep everyone hydrated. When the weather is hot, it’s more important than ever to ensure everyone in the family – from children and pets to parents and grandparents – gets enough water. While outdoors, be sure to have ample bottled water on hand and don’t forget to keep your pet’s bowl filled—and give him plenty of opportunities to drink—while outdoors.
* Leverage cooling technology to make outdoor spaces more comfortable. Sometimes, you have to be outside during hotter times of day. Keeping cool is key. Outdoor coolers like the Portacool Cyclone 1000, use the natural process of evaporation to make outdoor spaces more comfortable during hot weather. These evaporative coolers move water over evaporative cooling pads (or evaporative cooling media) to produce chilled air that provides a noticeable difference – lowering temperatures by as much as 30°F. This can make outdoor spaces such as the patio, deck or garage more bearable in the heat.
* Seek shade. If your patio or deck isn’t covered, use movable umbrellas or awnings to create plenty of shade. Going to a ballgame or the beach? Take an umbrella to shield you from the sun, or wear a wide-brimmed hat to keep the sun off your face.
* Choose weather-smart attire. When the weather’s very hot and the sun is bright, choose loose-fitting clothing made from lightweight materials and opt for lighter colors. This type of clothing will be more comfortable when you sweat, and lighter colors reflect heat more efficiently. If you’ll be working outdoors for any length of time, consider long-sleeved shirts and long pants in moisture-wicking materials to help shield your skin from sun exposure.
* Don’t overdo it with exercise. While vigorous exercise has many benefits, engaging in strenuous activity in extreme heat can do far more harm than good. If you enjoy an outdoor run or have yardwork to do, try to reserve it for the coolest times of day—early morning and evening. Consider taking your exercise routine indoors to a gym or your own living room when temperatures are very hot.