Warmer Weather Safety

By Amit Shar­ma, MD

As the tem­per­a­ture begins to rise and the days get longer, many of us find our­selves head­ing out­doors to enjoy our favorite activ­i­ties. Warm weath­er has its ben­e­fits but can pose many health and safe­ty risks if cer­tain pre­cau­tions are not tak­en. Please keep the fol­low­ing safe­ty tips in mind so you and your fam­i­ly can con­tin­ue to enjoy the warm weath­er ahead. 

Dress for the occasion 

Dress­ing for the weath­er is a sim­ple step you can take to help pre­vent heat-relat­ed ill­ness­es. Choose clothes that are loose fit­ting and made from a breath­able fab­ric. Wear­ing a hat that blocks the sun from your face is anoth­er great way to stay cool. To pro­tect your eyes from the sun’s harm­ful rays, wear sun­glass­es that are designed to block out both UVA and UVB light.

Remem­ber safe­ty equipment

No mat­ter the sport or activ­i­ty, be pre­pared with all safe­ty equip­ment need­ed to keep all par­tic­i­pants safe. Whether you are a pro-bik­er or a younger child using train­ing wheels, every­one who rides a bike should wear knee pads, elbow pads and a prop­er fit­ting hel­met to avoid head injuries, a lead­ing cause of head trau­ma in chil­dren2. Pools and water-relat­ed inci­dents are com­mon safe­ty haz­ards for many fam­i­lies. Ensure every fam­i­ly mem­ber has a prop­er fit­ting life vest if they can­not inde­pen­dent­ly swim or if you are in an open body of water such as on a boat. If you or your child plays a sport, be sure to include hel­mets, pads, guards and oth­er safe­ty equip­ment to keep you in the game.

Stay hydrat­ed

Warmer tem­per­a­tures cause you to sweat more, increas­ing your risk of dehy­dra­tion. To com­bat dehy­dra­tion, it is rec­om­mend­ed that you hydrate by drink­ing eight ounces of water ever 15 to 20 min­utes to reduce your risk of heat-relat­ed ill­ness­es1. Stay away from drinks that can cause dehy­dra­tion or are full of caf­feine such as alco­hol, ener­gy drinks and sodas. 

Wear sun­screen

Even on cloudy days, it is impor­tant to remem­ber to wear sun­screen. Sun­screen, specif­i­cal­ly SPF 30 or high­er, can help pro­tect your skin from the sun’s UV rays and the devel­op­ment of skin can­cer3. It is rec­om­mend­ed that you apply sun­screen every two hours to avoid sun burns. If you are swim­ming or exer­cis­ing out­side in the heat you may need to reap­ply your sun­screen more often. 

Apply insect repellent

If you will be spend­ing time out­side, specif­i­cal­ly at night or in a wood­ed area, it is impor­tant that you apply insect repel­lent lib­er­al­ly to avoid bug bites. Many insect repel­lents will help pre­vent mos­qui­to, tick and oth­er bit­ing insect bites4. Fam­i­ly mem­bers who are under 10 years old should have an adult apply their insect repel­lent to pre­vent acci­den­tal oral con­sump­tion. For the younger fam­i­ly mem­bers who are two and under, insect repel­lent should be avoided. 

Plan exer­cise accordingly

As the tem­per­a­ture ris­es, many peo­ple find them­selves mov­ing their work­outs out­side. Although there are many ben­e­fits to exer­cis­ing out­side, such as boost­ing your endor­phins and pro­vid­ing a vari­ety of ter­rain to train on, it can also pose health threats. Heat-relat­ed ill­ness­es can be avoid­ed by choos­ing to exer­cise out­side dur­ing the cool­er parts of the day, such as in the ear­ly morn­ing or late evening. If you are new to exer­cis­ing in the heat, it is impor­tant that you take pre­cau­tions such as start­ing off slow and work­ing your way up to longer and more stren­u­ous work­outs. To help avoid heat-relat­ed ill­ness­es, it is rec­om­mend­ed you take fre­quent breaks to rest in the shade, prefer­ably in air con­di­tion­ing. Uti­lize these breaks to hydrate, cool down your body and reap­ply sunscreen.

Address your allergies

For some of us, the start of spring also means the start of aller­gy sea­son. Although there are many over-the-counter (OTC) options to take care of your sea­son­al symp­toms, it is always a good idea to ask a health care pro­fes­sion­al before tak­ing any new med­ica­tions for your run­ny nose, itchy eyes or irri­tat­ed skin. Make sure to read the safe­ty label for dos­ing and ask your doc­tor if there are any alter­na­tives to consider. 

Main­tain social dis­tanc­ing and mask­ing safety

Although the weath­er is get­ting warmer, we still need to take prop­er COVID-19 pre­cau­tions. If you have been vac­ci­nat­ed, you don’t have to wear a mask in small groups, accord­ing to the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion (CDC). Vac­ci­nat­ed indi­vid­u­als should wear a mask if their out­door activ­i­ty requires being among a large group of peo­ple where social dis­tanc­ing can­not be eas­i­ly maintained. 

If you haven’t been vac­ci­nat­ed, you should con­tin­ue stan­dard mask­ing guide­lines. Dis­pos­able non-med­ical masks are a great option for those who will be out­doors in the heat.

No mat­ter what the weath­er, our fam­i­ly med­i­cine providers are always here for you. Sched­ule an appoint­ment online or call your pre­ferred loca­tion to meet with a fam­i­ly med­i­cine provider today. 

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