It’s officially summer! In Texas the hottest part of the day is typically between 2:00 and 5:00 p.m. The heat can get extreme and it is important to be prepared and take care of yourself if you are going to be outdoors for any extended period of time. Try to plan activities in the hours where the heat is less intense if possible. There are a few essentials that we all need: fluids, sunscreen and appropriate clothing.
Fluids: Not all fluids are good fluids. Water is the best choice to keep you hydrated when outdoors. When you sweat your body loses electrolytes and if you are outside for prolonged periods of time you might also want to drink fluids that have electrolytes. Try to avoid drinks with excessive sugar and caffeine such as sodas, sweet tea, and coffee because they can be diuretics and pull more water from your system than they are replenishing.
Sunscreen: Don’t fall for high SPF labels. SPFs between 15 and 50 are completely sufficient for everyday use. Look for broad spectrum coverage and pick a product based on your own skin coloration and time outside. Reapply often!
Appropriate Clothing: This is the first and most effective way to prevent too much sun exposure, look for lightweight clothing such as shirts, hats, pants or shorts made from breathable material. Sunglasses can be an important addition, they protect your eyes from UV radiation that causes cataracts.
The most important thing is to be aware of your body. Don’t ignore signs that you are getting too much sun exposure. Below is a good visual on the difference between heat exhaustion and heat stroke. However, prevention is much better than treatment!