Prevent Heatstroke: Eight Smart Tips for Families

After a terrible tragedy in Texas, how to stay fit, have fun — and beat the heat in the great outdoors this summer

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To prevent such a terrible tragedy from happening to any other individual and to stay smart in the sun this summer, families should heed these eight smart pieces of advice.

The tips are courtesy of the Mayo Clinic:

1.) Wear loose-fitting, lightweight clothing. Wearing excess clothing or clothing that fits tightly won’t allow your body to cool properly.

2.) Protect against sunburn. Sunburn affects the body’s ability to cool itself, so protect yourself outdoors with a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses and use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15. Apply sunscreen generously and reapply every two hours — or more often if you’re swimming or sweating.

3.) Drink plenty of fluids. Staying hydrated will help your body sweat and maintain a normal body temperature.

4.) Take extra precautions with certain medications. Be on the lookout for heat-related problems if you take medications that can affect your body’s ability to stay hydrated and dissipate heat.

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5.) Never leave anyone in a parked car. This is a common cause of heat-related deaths in children. When your car is parked in the sun, the temperature within can rise 20 degrees F (more than 6.7 C) in 10 minutes. It’s not safe to leave a person in a parked car in warm or hot weather, even if the windows are cracked or the car is in shade. When your car is parked, keep it locked to prevent a child from getting inside.

6.) Take it easy during the hottest parts of the day. If you can’t avoid strenuous activity in hot weather, drink fluids and rest frequently in a cool spot. Try to schedule exercise or physical labor for cooler parts of the day, such as early morning or evening.

7.) Get acclimated. Limit time spent working or exercising in heat until you’re conditioned to it. People who are not used to hot weather are especially susceptible to heat-related illness. It can take several weeks for your body to adjust to hot weather.

8.) Be cautious if you’re at increased risk. If you take medications or have a condition that increases your risk of heat-related problems, avoid the heat and act quickly if you notice symptoms of overheating. If you participate in a strenuous sporting event or activity in hot weather, make sure there are medical services available in case of a heat emergency.

Experts note that some 400 people die every summer of heat-related illnesses, and that 47 percent of these illnesses occur in adults older than 65.

Related: Summer Camps That Transform Kids

If someone appears to be suffering from heatstroke — and displays symptoms such as confusion, dizziness, headache, sweaty skin and fainting — initial treatment involves calling 911; getting the person to a cool, shaded area; removing excess clothing and equipment; and dousing the person in cold water or in a cold tub, according to EXOS (formerly Core Performance), which runs a series of corporate wellness programs in five states, including Texas, California and Florida. [lz_pagination]

meet the author

Maureen Mackey served as editor-in-chief and managing editor of LifeZette for nearly five years. Before that, she held senior editorial positions at major publications, helping The Fiscal Times win a MIN Award for Best New Site as managing editor and Reader's Digest win an American Society of Magazine Editors Award for General Excellence as book editor. Her work has appeared in Real Clear Politics, CNBC, A Fine Line, AARP Magazine, Yahoo Finance, MSN, Business Insider, and The Week, among other outlets. She is a member of the Newswomen's Club of New York and the American Legion Auxiliary.

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