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But summer brings its own challenges when it comes to keeping your family healthy. Nothing puts the brakes on a good summer day like a bad sunburn. The summer heat itself can be life threatening, and water can be an enticing danger for kids.
Put plans in place to protect your family as they enjoy all summer has to offer.
Exposure to excessive heat can cause some illnesses and make existing health issues, like heart and respiratory diseases, worse.
Heat-related illness can cause hyperthermia. Hyperthermia happens when the body is not able to cool itself the right way because of high heat. Since the body can’t let go of heat quickly enough, it causes a rapid rise in body temperature.
Heat-linked illnesses are preventable. Yet more than 600 Americans are killed by high heat each year.
Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are the most serious heat-related illnesses.
Heat ExhaustionPay attention to the warnings of heat exhaustion:
What to DoGo to an air-conditioned place and lie down. Loosen or remove clothing. Take a cool bath. Take sips of cool sports drinks. Get medical help if symptoms get worse or last more than an hour.
Heat StrokeSigns of heat stroke include:
What to DoIf you see symptoms of heat stroke, call 911 or get the person to a hospital right away. Quick treatment of heat-related illnesses is vital. Aggressive fluid replacement and cooling of core body temperature is critical to preventing death. Cool down with any methods on hand until you can get medical help.
PreventionIf the weather forecast includes high heat:
And even if it isn’t very hot outside, never leave children or pets in a car. Heatstroke in children can happen in a car when the outside temperature is as low as 57 degrees.
Protect your skin from the summer sun. Wear sunscreen every day, no matter how long you plan to be outside. Use a sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher. Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen that will protect against UVB and UVA radiation. If you are fair skinned or plan to be outdoors all day, opt for an SPF of 30 or higher.
You can also protect yourself by:
Drowning is a serious problem. About 11 people die every day in the U.S. from accidental drowning. And drowning is a leading cause of death for children.
Take these steps to help protect yourself and your family:
It’s especially important to look out for children around water, even the bathtub. Take these steps to help protect kids:
Originally published 5/11/2020; Reviewed 2021, 2023
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma, a Division of Health Care Service Corporation, a Mutual Legal Reserve Company, an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association
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