The summer months bring with them excitement, fun outdoor activities, and of course camping! But while you’re enjoying the swimming, hiking, and picnicking, don’t forget to look out for your health as well. The summer sun can be intense and even dangerous if you’re not properly prepared for it. This series of blogs offers tips and advice for staying hydrated and cool during the peak camping months.
The sunshine can be an integral part of our camping experience in the summer, and will usually factor into camping preparation. While sunshine can bring joy and fun to your day, it is important to be careful of the sun’s adverse effects. Too much sun can be dangerous in the case of sunburn, heat exhaustion, and dehydration. Overheating, along with dehydration, is a serious risk, especially for children and older adults. Following these suggestions and other guides for staying protected outside will ensure that you have the fun times that summer promises. Keep your cool by reading these tips:
Keep your sunscreen close at hand! Avoid the red, sore, blistered or peeling skin that comes with severe sunburn. Packing sunscreen that offers broad spectrum protection is essential for preventing sunburn and staying safe from the sun’s harmful rays. Remember that sunscreen chemicals often degrade in the sun or rub off on towels and clothing, so re-apply frequently. It’s essential throughout the year, not just on scorching summer days; clouds and snow actually intensify rays. The best sunscreen is a broad-spectrum version, protecting against both UVA and UVB rays, with an SPF of 15 or higher. And don’t forget lipscreen to avoid disruptive chapping!
Cool Off Outside
Spending time under the sun is a fun part of the summer season, but the heat can get overwhelming if you’re not prepared. One way to cool off when outside is to wear loose cotton or linen clothes, which are breathable fabrics best suited for warm weather. Wearing white is also helpful in staying cool because it reflects light instead of absorbing it. Another way to stay cool is to bring a small fan on the go. Fan gadgets that fit on your phone are convenient for this purpose. If you’re overheating in the sun, a way to cool off immediately is to apply an ice pack to pulse points, such as your wrists and neck.
Recognize Heat Exhaustion/Heat Stroke
Learn how to spot the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Goose bumps, skin tingling, muscle cramps, dull headache, shallow breathing and nausea are all warning signs of heat exhaustion. These symptoms are caused by the body losing salt through exertion and perspiration. In cases of heatstroke, the body’s temperature rises to 104 degrees, causing impaired mental states such as agitation, confusion, or lethargy. That’s because the nerve cells in the brain and body are the most vulnerable to heat damage. As heat stroke progresses, blood flow to the skin increases; which, coupled with copious amounts of sweat, poses serious danger to the heart. Avoid a medical emergency by spraying your camper with cool water and applying wet clothes or ice packs to the armpits or groin.
Staying in the sun or in a hot environment for extended periods of time can lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke so it’s important to take breaks from being outside in the direct sunlight. The most oppressive heat of the day occurs from 10 am to 4 pm. To avoid heat exhaustion during this time, it is important to not stay out under the sun for too long without finding shade or a shelter. Consider hiking first thing in the morning or in the early evening to be even safer.