Tips for beating the relentless summer heat

Jul 16, 2019, 15:47 PM by Dr. Patricia Beach, professor of Pediatrics and director of the Division of General Academic Pediatrics

thermometer image for heat tips for impact utmb dr. patricia beach Avoid the peak time of warm temperatures each day. Whenever possible, avoid spending time outside during the hottest parts of the day, typically between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Choose outdoor activities that you can enjoy in the early morning or evening. 

Wear lightweight clothing. Lightweight, loose-fitting clothing will help sweat evaporate easily and keep you cooler in hot, humid climates. Look for shirts and pants with a tight weave and avoid dark colors, which can absorb heat. Top it off with a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses that protect against UVA and UVB spectrum light. 

Find the shade. Avoiding direct exposure to sun rays can prevent heat rash, heatstroke, sunburn and other heat-related illnesses. If you want to spend time outdoors but your patio or deck area is not covered, try using movable umbrellas or awnings to create shade. 

Drink plenty of water. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. In hot and humid weather, it’s more important than ever to ensure everyone in the family—from children and pets to parents and grandparents—get enough water. When it is hot and you are active, the rate your body can absorb fluids is less than the rate it loses water due to perspiration. 

Take care with warm-weather workouts. Reduce the intensity of activities that last 15 minutes or more. If you are just beginning an exercise program, the intensity and duration of outdoor activities should start low and then gradually increase over a two-week period to acclimate to the heat and humidity. 

Watch for warning signs of heat-related illness. Signs of heat exhaustion include confusion, dizziness, fatigue, headache and fainting. If you start to feel under the weather, don’t ignore your body, and head indoors to cool off. If hydration and cooling do not work, seek medical attention immediately.