It's Hot! Stay Hydrated, Stay Cool!
By Adelia Ladson
It’s hotter than normal this year with record-breaking temperatures across the world! When you’re out and about in this heat, it’s doubly important that you have that sip of water when you need it to ward off heat exhaustion and prevent a heat stroke. With the rising temperatures the danger of heat-related emergencies is also rising. Do you know the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke and what you can do to stay hydrated?
So, let's start with staying hydrated because the ultimate goal is not to have to recognize the signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Drinking plenty of water helps keep a body from overheating. Whether you're going to be out in the heat for long periods of time or just in and out of it doing your daily activities, you need to have access to plenty of water. One of the best ways to do this is to carry water with you wherever you go during these high heat days. Here are a couple of options that are so much better than the plastic water-filled bottles that you buy and will ultimately save you money in the long run.
Trailblazer Collapsible Water Canteen
The Trailblazer Collapsible Water Canteen, which is definitely not the old metal canteen that your parents carried. The soft-sided bottle can be folded down to one-third of its size for storage, making it easy to carry anywhere. The tough-as-nails construction has an ABS frame and a heat and cold-resistant, food-grade silicone body. It has a stainless steel screw-top cap with a rubberized grip and an integrated compass. Both a carabiner and a rubber belt loop is attached to the Trailblazer Collapsible Water Bottle for ease of carry. The collapsible water bottle’s capacity is 580 ml.
Trailblazer Foldable Water Bottle
Another great option, which is even more compact, is the Trailblazer Foldable Water Bottle. Take it with you camping, hiking, working out or just running around doing errands. The TPU and silicone construction makes it flexible enough to fold up so that it will fit practically anywhere. The bottle has a 600 ml capacity and it has a sports top with a cap. Get a few to throw into each of your recreation and activity bags.
Peak Refuel Drink Sticks
You can boost your water's effectiveness with something like Peak Refuel's Drink Sticks. Each stick contains nine vitamins and minerals, 185 mg of botanical caffeine and 25 total calories. These little sticks will keep you fueled and hydrated and they come in flavors like pina colada, berry and melon.
Combined with staying hydrated, there are other measures you need to take to prevent a heat emergency. Keeping your body cool when you're out in the heat is an important component. Here are some things you can do.
When you’re going to be out in the sun and heat for long periods of time, you need to have adequate shelter to provide shade and help keep you cool. This can go far in preventing heat exhaustion and heat stroke, limiting your exposure to the sun. A shelter can be simply a camping tent or a large tarp that’s rigged between two trees with paracord. Of course, you can always erect one of the beach/event style tents. I just find that for all day outside sporting events or family picnics, a simple camping tent is easier to put up and take down and is just as effective. Especially for younger children who may need a shaded place for a nap during the day. Midday is when you should be under the cover of shelter.
I like the lightweight, easy to pitch Intense Four-Person OD Dome Tent because it has everything you want in an outstanding general purpose tent. It has a UV-resistant, PA coating and a vented roof and zippered mesh door for ventilation, as well. The sturdy yet collapsible, shock-cord and fiberglass pole frame slides smoothly into snag-free pole sleeves, so that it goes up with little effort. If you want something smaller, the Intense Two-Person Dome Tent has all of the same features.
Heat Relieving Accessories
There are some heat relieving accessories that you can have on-hand when temperatures rise. Things as simple as a spray bottle, hats and caps or those cooling bandanas. My favorite is the Portable Waist Fan, which clips to your belt or waistband underneath your shirt and blows air up. What's really great is that it's rechargeable via a USB cord. The portable waist fan also has three speeds.
What is Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke
You may have experienced heat exhaustion before, which happens when you get dehydrated, and salt depleted. It can occur when you’re working outside, playing sports or any outside recreation. There are different degrees of it, and it will progress if not treated.
Heat stroke is on an entirely different level and, unfortunately, if you’re alone when it happens, you might not survive it. No joke! This is what happens when a person’s core body temperature reaches 104F or higher because of overexposure to the sun and heat. Your core temperature can also rise to dangerous levels when you engage in intense physical activity in hot weather.
Recognizing the Signs
Now that you know what each of the heat emergencies are, here are the signs you need to look for with each. For heat exhaustion, look for symptoms like excessive sweating, nausea, cool clammy skin, muscle cramps, a rapid weak pulse and faintness. What you’re looking for with heat stroke is a throbbing headache, rapid or strong pulse, nausea or vomiting and red, hot dry skin. A person will stop sweating altogether and may lose consciousness, which is what makes it so deadly if you’re alone when it happens.
Rendering First Aid
Here's what you need to do to treat heat exhaustion or render first aid for a heat stroke. The first thing, for both heat emergencies, is to get yourself or the victim you're helping out of the sun and under shelter if you’re not where you can go inside an air-conditioned space. Then, you need to cool the body down with whatever means are available like applying wet cloths or bandannas to the skin or using a cool tub of water. You also need to start rehydrating the body by drinking water or giving water to the victim. For heat exhaustion, this should be sufficient.
When a person has suffered a heat stroke, however, after getting the person out of the heat, you need to make that call to 911 because they do need treatment at a hospital. If a tub is available, definitely get them into cool water while you’re waiting for professional medical assistance and if not, using wet towels or ice is even better if you have it. Place the towels or ice on the person’s head, neck, armpits and groin. If the person is conscious, give them water to drink but do not try to force water into someone who is unconscious.