The temperature in Denver broke several records in June this year.  This is a sure sign that summer has arrived. If you are among the millions of persons who spend time outdoors during the summer, you need to be aware of the dangers of excessive heat exposure. Persons who work out in the sun every day (such as roofers, construction workers, road repair and lawn maintenance) are at higher risk for heat related health problems.

Heat Exhaustion is an illness that is directly related to exposure to high temperatures for an extended period of time. Persons at higher risk for heat exhaustion are those who exercise in the sun or during the highest temperatures of the day, and those who work outdoors in the heat daily. The main reason people experience heat exhaustion is due to dehydration (not enough fluid).

The common symptoms of heat exhaustion include muscle cramps, dizziness, headache, light-headedness, nausea, sweating and fast heart beat.

Ways to avoid heat exhaustion include:

  • Drink plenty of water- try to drink at least 8 ounces every 30 minutes
  • Avoid alcohol or caffeinated beverages
  • Wear sunscreen with a minimum SPF 30- reapply frequently
  • Wear a wide brim hat
  • Rest under shade or in a cool place every few hours
  • Wear clothing with SPF rating >20
  • Wear light color, loose fitting clothing
  • Avoid strenuous outdoor activities during the peak heat hours of the day

If you feel you have the symptoms of heat exhaustion, you need to take the following measures immediately

  • Move out of the heat to a cool area- in a shady spot or indoors with a fan or air conditioner
  • Drink plenty of water- do not drink beverages with caffeine or alcohol
  • Remove clothing that is damp
  • Take a cool shower
  • Wrap a cool towel around your neck

If the symptoms do not improve within 30 minutes of taking the above cooling measures, seek medical attention. Heat Exhaustion that is untreated can lead to Heat Stroke— check for future blogs on heat stroke