A few laps around the pool. A game of volleyball in the sand. A fun run on the local trails. These activities can be satisfying on a sunny summer day. But heat and humidity can bring on some health risks like dehydration, sunburn, and heat exhaustion.
Young people are especially at risk from the stresses of heat. Nearly 9,000 high school athletes are treated for heat illness each year, and more than 60 percent of cases occur in August, according to a 2010 study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
So, to keep your family safe, fit, and injury-free this summer, here’s a list of mistakes to avoid before you head outside.
Ignoring the clock. The sun is highest in the sky at noon, but its heat continues to build until 3 p.m. Therefore, it’s best to limit outdoor activities during the hottest part of the day. Instead, schedule games or workouts during cooler morning or evening hours, or if you must be outside, opt for a shady space.
Skimping on sunscreen. Fun in the sun can really hurt. Each instance of sunburn can increase your risk of skin cancer. Make sure to slip on a shirt, slop on the sunscreen, and slap on a hat to avoid getting one. Remember that sunblock wears off, particularly from sweat and water, so take time out to reapply as often as the directions on the label say.
Overlooking hydration. High temperatures and physical activity mean heavy sweating. It’s important to replace the fluid and electrolytes you lose so that you don’t become dehydrated. Always have water with you when spending time outdoors. You can replenish electrolytes naturally with lemon juice or coconut water.
Pushing too hard. Too much training can zap your energy and also put you at risk for muscle sprains, strains, and minor injuries. Acclimate yourself to the weather by starting slow, warm up with a stretch, and stop if you experience cramps, dizziness, headaches, or nausea. Seek medical attention immediately if you or anyone you know shows sign of heatstroke such as altered mental state, not sweating, and nausea.
If these summer bummers happen to you anyway, you probably already have a few homeopathic medicines on hand that can offer relief. Belladonna 30C relieves red, hot, and painful skin from burns or sunburn.* This remedy is often used alongside Glonoinum for symptoms after prolonged heat exposure. In the 6C dilution, Glonoinum relieves sudden headaches, with fullness of head, aggravated by heat.*
And if you have a student athlete at home, there are two medicines you should always have in your medicine cabinet. Ruta graveolens 6C relieves strained ligaments and tendons.* And for pain, bruising, and swelling associated with minor injury and overexertion, there’s the ever-popular Arnica montana 30C.*
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*Claims based on traditional homeopathic practice, not accepted medical evidence. Not FDA evaluated.