Norman Regional Health System

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

It’s official: Temperatures are on the rise which means summertime has just about arrived in Oklahoma.

As you gear up to face the heat and humidity, check out these tips for making the summer temps a bit more bearable.

  • Stay hydrated. Many people do not feel thirsty until they are already dehydrated. Dehydration occurs when you lose more fluids than you take in. 

    Ways to avoid dehydration:
    • Drink plenty of fluids, including water and electrolyte replacement drinks. An electrolyte replacement drink like Gatorade is important because drinking too much water can deplete sodium levels.
    • Try to drink a glass of water with each meal and between meals; before, during and after exercise; and if you are feeling hungry (thirst may be confused with feelings of hunger). Water is essential to keeping your temperature normal, keeping your joints lubricated, protecting your spinal cord, ensuring clear thinking and getting rid of waste when you sweat or go to the bathroom.
    • Do not drink alcoholic, caffeinated or sugary beverages in hot temperatures. They can increase dehydration.
  • Stay inside during the hottest times of the day, if possible. Schedule outdoor activities early in the morning or in the evening. Ideally, try to limit direct exposure to the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the UV rays are the strongest.

    If you have to be outside:
    • Find shady spots to avoid extreme heat and sun damage.
    • Wear light-colored and lightweight clothing that fits loosely on your body so air can reach your skin.
    • Wear sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat to avoid a sunburn, which can cause dehydration and impact your body’s ability to cool down. Choose broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen that is SPF 30 or higher and make sure to reapply often.
    • If exercising outdoors, take frequent breaks to stretch and hydrate. It’s also a good idea to exercise with a friend or family member so you can watch each other for signs of a heat-related illness.
  • Recognize the signs of heat-related illnesses 
    • Heat exhaustion: Dizziness, muscle cramps in the legs or abdomen, headaches, vomiting, nausea, weakness, exhaustion, flushed skin and heavy sweating.
    • Heat stroke: In addition to signs of heat exhaustion, other signs of heat stroke include confusion, high body temperature, increased heart and breathing rates, and difficulty speaking or answering questions. In some cases, you may also stop sweating. Heat stroke is a life-threatening emergency. Call 911 if you or someone you know show signs of heat stroke.
  • Find other ways to cool down.
    • Use a fan, spray bottle, wet cloth or ice pack to cool off.
    • Sit in a kiddie pool filled with water.
    • Take a swim. (Remember to stay hydrated and wear sunscreen.)
    • Take a cool shower or bath.
    • Turn on the air conditioner in your home. If you do not have an air conditioner, find a cool place to go during the hottest times of the day.
    • Invest in a fan (ceiling fan or oscillating fan) to help circulate the air in your home.
    • Keep your blinds or shades closed during periods of direct sunlight to stay cool when inside.
    • Avoid eating hot, heavy meals. They can lead to increased body heat.

Other key things to remember: Make sure to keep your pets hydrated with plenty of cool water. Never leave children, pets or adults with limited mobility unattended in a car. Without the use of air conditioning, cars can heat up quickly when left in the sun any time during the year, possibly leading to heat-related illnesses or death. 

If you need medical advice this summer — or anytime during the year — Norman Regional has you covered. Learn more about Norman Regional Virtual Care or log on to visit with a provider today. It’s quick, convenient and only costs $55 for each visit.