The Blog

July 1, 2024

Summer Safety!

Sun Safety Tips for Being Outdoors: Stay Active and Prevent Heat Exhaustion in Texas

Summer in Texas is a great time to get active and enjoy the outdoors. However, the intense heat and sun exposure can pose significant health risks. Here are some essential tips for hydration, sun safety, recognizing heat exhaustion, water safety, and mosquito safety to keep you moving all summer long.

Family outdoors in the summertime

Hydration: A Key to Summer Safety

Staying hydrated is especially important during the summer months. Ensure you drink plenty of water and find ways to stay cool, safe, and hydrated. Our Lead Health Coach, Natalie Richardson, offers valuable insights on the importance of hydration: “Did you know that dehydration is often misdiagnosed as dementia in seniors? And did you know that you can lower your blood sugar by 3-5 points if you’re drinking the right amount of water? Water is crucial for all living things, so drink up this summer and don’t forget your electrolytes!”

Sun Safety Tips

  1. Wear Sunscreen: Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Reapply every two hours, or more frequently if you’re swimming or sweating (CDC).
  2. Seek Shade: Avoid direct sun exposure, especially between 10 AM and 4 PM when UV rays are strongest. Use umbrellas, hats, and sunglasses to protect yourself (Skin Cancer Foundation).
  3. Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated. Avoid sugary drinks and alcohol, which can dehydrate you (Mayo Clinic).
  4. Wear Protective Clothing: Lightweight, long-sleeved shirts, pants, and wide-brimmed hats can help protect your skin from harmful UV rays (American Academy of Dermatology).

Check the UV Index: Be aware of the daily UV index in your area. When the index is high, take extra precautions to protect yourself from sun exposure (Environmental Protection Agency).

Recognizing Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion can occur when your body overheats due to prolonged exposure to high temperatures and inadequate fluid intake. Here are some signs to watch out for:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Headache
  • Muscle cramps

If you or someone else is experiencing these symptoms, move to a cooler place, drink water, and use cool compresses. If symptoms worsen or last longer than an hour, seek medical attention immediately (CDC).

Water Safety

  1. Supervise Children: Always watch children closely when they are in or near water. Drowning can happen quickly and quietly (American Red Cross).
  2. Learn to Swim: Ensure that everyone in your family knows how to swim. Consider enrolling in swimming lessons if needed (YMCA).
  3. Wear Life Jackets: Use life jackets for boating or when swimming in natural bodies of water (U.S. Coast Guard).
  4. Follow Pool Rules: Adhere to all posted safety rules at public and private pools.

Mosquito Safety

  1. Use Insect Repellent: Apply an EPA-registered insect repellent to exposed skin and clothing (CDC).
  2. Wear Protective Clothing: Wear long sleeves and pants, especially during dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active (CDC).
  3. Eliminate Standing Water: Remove standing water around your home to reduce mosquito breeding sites (EPA).

Outdoor Activities

  1. Morning or Evening Walks/Runs: The temperatures are cooler, and the sun is less intense during these times. Plus, you can enjoy the sunrise or sunset!
  2. Water Sports: Swimming, paddleboarding, and kayaking are great ways to stay cool while being active.
  3. Outdoor Yoga: Practicing yoga in a shaded area or park can be a refreshing way to start or end your day.
  4. Biking: Explore local trails or parks on your bike, ensuring you stay hydrated and take breaks in the shade.

Indoor Activities

  1. Virtual Fitness Classes: Take advantage of our free virtual Stronger Texas fitness and nutrition classes, including Zumba, Pilates, Kickboxing, and Yoga. These classes are available in various formats to fit your schedule and preferences.
  2. Home Workouts: Create a routine that includes bodyweight exercises like squats, lunges, push-ups, and planks. Use online resources for guided workouts.
  3. Join a Gym: Many gyms offer air-conditioned spaces and a variety of equipment and classes to keep you active.
  4. Indoor Sports: Basketball, racquetball, and indoor swimming are excellent options for staying active away from the heat.

Join us!

We offer several statewide events and programs to promote health and wellness, including:

  • Community Challenge: An 8-week statewide health competition held from January to March, where participants log daily activities in an app for points like hydration and exercise.
  • Healthier Texas Summit: A 2-day conference in October in Austin, gathering health champions across the state to unite and transform health in Texas.
  • Sweet Summer Habits: A 10-week health education program for kids, parents, and families centered around the Summer Olympics to build healthy habits.

We also offer free virtual telehealth coaching services in English and Spanish, ensuring everyone has access to the resources they need to stay healthy.

Summer is the perfect time to improve your healthy habits and set new goals. Reach out to our health coach team for support, guidance, and accountability as you work towards a healthier you!

Stay Connected

We use social media to share resources, tools, and information to help you, your family, and your friends live healthy lives. It’s also a great way to join and connect with a growing network of Texans committed to making living healthy easier in our great state!