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Dealing with the Summer Heat

Dealing with the Summer Heat

Posted in: Education on June 21, 2017.

Summer is here officially! Hooray! Here in Southern Utah, that means lots of hiking and playing in the sun. But, in case you didn’t notice, summer here in the desert is hot. Really hot. So it’s important to be safe when playing outdoors, and it’s important to learn how to spot some of the most common heat related problems – namely heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Of the two, heat stroke is by far the more dangerous, requiring immediate medical attention. Here’s how to tell heat exhaustion and heat stroke apart – and what to do next.

Heat Exhaustion Symptoms
Faint and/or dizzy
Excessive sweating
Cool or clammy skin
Nausea or vomiting
Rapid, fluttery, and weak pulse
Muscle cramps

What to do?
If you, or someone in your party, is displaying signs of heat exhaustion, take action to cool down. If possible, get to an air-conditioned place. If that’s not possible, find shade on the trail. Drink plenty of water and take a long break.

Of course the best cure is prevention. Don’t hike when the sun is strong, but instead plan your adventures for the mornings and evenings.

Heat Stroke Symptoms
Strong, persistent headache
Not sweating
Hot skin, usually dry
Nausea or vomiting
Rapid, over-strong pulse
May lose consciousness

What to do?
Call 911. Then take immediate action to bring the body’s temperature down. If you have access to ice, make an ice bath, or place ice compresses under the armpits and between the thighs. If you’re on the trail, move into deep shade and use wet-cloth compresses.

Heat stroke is serious. But there are plenty of warning signs before a person develops heat stroke. Be smart when hiking in the summer months. Don’t attempt feats beyond your abilities and always, always carry plenty of water. Plan ahead and you’ll be perfectly fine playing outside this summer.

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