By Rachel Buckley, OTAS and Crystal Anderson, OTAS
Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Summer is in full swing with a lot of things to do! Exploring, vacationing, relaxing and spending time with friends and family are just a few of those things with a majority of activities taking place outside.
Fun in the sun can be potentially dangerous as temperatures rise and heat waves come along. In 2014, 244 people died in the U.S. just from exposure to excessive heat. That’s a lot of people! No need to worry though, occupational therapy is here to help.
June is National Safety Month, and as professionals concerned with the safety of individuals, occupational therapists know there are a few tips individuals can take to avoid injury and illness that may limit summertime fun.
The connection between occupational therapy and safety is strong. The occupational therapy profession aims to do no harm and prevent individuals from experiencing harm. This can include providing the community with health and wellness tips or information.
In this spirit, we present 6 tips to safely enjoy time outdoors when the heat is a challenge to beat.
1) Stay Cool
Like the lovely lady in the painting by Kuroda Seiki at the beginning of this post, seek out shady areas when spending times outdoors in the heat. Or, you can also alternate short activities to complete inside and outside. This gives you the opportunity to cool off by soaking in some air conditioning before braving the heat again.
2) Drink Water
The more the merrier. Drinking more water than you need can help when it is lost excessively through sweating.
3) Dress Appropriately
If those in style crop tops aren’t a possibility, wearing loose fitting or lightweight clothes is always a good idea. Even wearing a hat can make you feel better when the sun is beating down.
4) Limit Exposure
The hottest parts of the day occur between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. During this time, it is best to avoid strenuous or lengthy activities outdoors.
5) Pace activities
When the body is overworked, it heats up. Choose activities that can include taking breaks or are not extremely demanding on the body.
6) Wear Sunscreen
When the skin gets burned, it makes it difficult for the body to stay cool! According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the recommended sunscreen is at least SPF 15 and should be applied more than once throughout the day. For further concerns and question contact a local or primary care physician about sunscreen use.
For further summertime safety tips check out the National Safety Council’s Summer Safety Tips.
How do you stay cool in the summer months? Let us know in the comments below.