You’re dehydratedWAYHOME studio/Shutterstock
Make sure you stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water, and be aware of the signs of dehydration. The best way to monitor this is to keep a close eye on your urine. “Make sure it’s light in color,” says Bixenmann. “It’s tough to tell people to drink a specific amount of water per day. It’s actually weight-based and different if you have certain health issues. Paying attention to your urine is the best method to find out if you are hydrating enough.” Smith adds that if you are sweating a lot, it may be best to choose an electrolyte sport drink over water. He also recommends drinking 24 ounces a couple of hours before and 8 ounces every 20 minutes during activity—even if you don’t feel thirsty—when exercising or working outdoors. Don’t miss these other signs of dehydration you never learned about.
You have bad timingTCreativeMedia/Shutterstock
If you want to avoid signs of heat stroke, don’t head outside during the hottest hours of the day, typically between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. According to the Sun Safety Alliance, the sun is at its most intense when its highest in the sky. Smith recommends paying attention to the heat index, which is a measurement of how hot you’ll feel from the combination of humidity and air temperature. “If the humidity is above 60 percent, your body’s ability to cool off through sweat evaporation is hindered,” he explains. “In this situation, your risk of overheating increases, so you should take extra precautions. When the heat index is 90 or above, the risk rises significantly. So during a summer heat wave, pay attention to the heat index and avoid direct sunshine, which can increase the heat index by 15 degrees.”
You’re battling a health conditionSavicic/Shutterstock
Health conditions that increase the risk of heat-related illness include heart, lung, or kidney disease, obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes, says Smith. Additionally, groups of people who are at highest risk are adults over 65 and infants and children under the age of four, because they adjust to heat more slowly. Certain common medications can also increase the risk, says family physician and assistant professor at Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine, Jennifer Caudle, DO. These include beta blockers and calcium channel blockers (common heart meds), diuretics or “water pills,” some psychiatric meds, diet pills and antibiotics. Illegal drugs like cocaine, amphetamines, ecstasy and mushrooms can also increase the risk of heat-related illness. “People should be aware of medicines that can reduce the body’s ability to cool itself,” says Vijay Jotwani, MD, Houston Methodist primary care sports medicine physician. “Those include antihistamines which many people take for allergies.” Plus, find out the difference between heat stroke and heat exhaustion.