Summer brings barbeques, pool parties, vacations, activities, and in the mind of a child - NO SCHOOL! Summer also brings some intense heat, especially in the South Texas region. While it’s important for children and adults to get outside and be active, being safe about protecting yourself from excess sun and heat exposure is equally important. Here are some tips to ensure you’re able to get out and safely enjoy those barbeques, pool parties, vacations and activities this summer.
Purposefully plan your activities.
Plan your activities around cooler times of the day. According to Dr. Cassandra Gelabert, Medical Director of Methodist Hospital | Metropolitan’s Emergency Department, “Outdoor time is best during the early morning (before 11am) or late evening (after 5pm) to avoid the hottest hours and most direct sunlight. If you are outside, try and stay in shady areas.”.
No matter what time of day you find yourself outside, be diligent about skin-care to prevent sun damage or skin cancer. Stay on top of sunscreen application every hour, anything over 30 SPF is recommended, and keep up with hydration.
Be proactive about nutrition and hydration.
“Staying hydrated is extremely important during these heat waves!” Dr. Gelabert emphasizes. “Water is best but consider adding in an electrolyte drink if you are doing sports or outside activities for more than 45 minutes in addition to water to replace lost salts in sweat,” she adds.
Make hydrating tasty! Dr. Gelabert gives some tips on making water enjoyable, “Spice up your water with fruit, bubbly water, or half a packet of Kool-Aid or Crystal lite.” She also adds that it’s better to continuously drink throughout the day rather than chugging water before or after activities. Choose or pack light foods and snacks, like fruits and popsicles, Dr. Gelabert recommends. Watermelon is a good fruit of choice as it helps aid hydration.
Signs that you may be dehydrated include dry mouth, dark urine, or not urinating as frequently. Find your neighborhood Methodist ER ahead of time so you know where to go in case your symptoms become more serious.
If you or a loved one is experiencing a medical emergency, please call 911 immediately.
Find backup plans.
If the heat is just too unbearable, or you need a break from the sun/heat, look for indoor activities as an alternative. Get lost in a book at the library, find a museum that interests you or is exciting for all ages, take a trip to the mall.
If you want to stay active while avoiding the heat and staying home to save money, get creative with activities at home. Find free at-home-workouts online, learn a dance routine from social media, play video games that require getting up and moving.
Get your mind working with a DIY project, puzzles, or play board games with your friends or family. Craft with the kids, find everyday items in your home to turn into sensory play for children. Find healthy, fun recipes to bake or make with your friends or family. Don’t resort to letting the day pass you by sitting on the couch being sedentary watching TV.