Hot weather is part of the experience when travelers are seeking a vacation in the sun. When temperature and humidity soar, travelers -- particularly children, the elderly, those with chronic medical conditions, and people who are overweight – may be prone to heat stroke. Even young and healthy individuals can be vulnerable if they are too active during hot weather. So it’s best to prevent heat stroke before it’s necessary to deal with its potentially disabling symptoms
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
, heat stroke occurs when the body is unable to regulate its temperature. The body’s temperature rises rapidly, the sweating mechanism fails and the body is unable to cool down.
If you’re spending a lot of time traveling in a place where temperatures are high, follow these simple tips on preventing heat stroke, as recommended by CDC.
- Keep hydrated. Increase fluid intake, regardless of activity level, even if you don’t feel thirsty. During periods of heavy activity in the heat, drink 2-4 glasses of water each hour.
- Drink cool, but not very cold, nonalcoholic beverages that do not contain large amounts of sugar.
- Avoid hot foods and heavy meals.
- Take the same precautions as you would for sunburn. Wear clothing that is labeled as sun-protective. Such clothing carries a UPF, or ultraviolet protection factor rating. Also, wear a wide-brimmed hat to shade your face and neck.
- Be aware of your activity level, and pace yourself. If you are not used to working or exercising in the heat, start slowly and build up the pace gradually. Limit outdoor activity to morning and evening. If there is shade, rest in it until your body temperature returns to normal.
- If possible, seek air conditioned venues like shopping malls, public libraries, museums or movie theatres. If you’re in a location with only fans, remember that once temperatures get to the high 90s, a fan will not prevent heat-related illness.
- Take a cool shower or bath to help lower your body temperature.
- Never leave children in cars. Even with the windows cracked open, interior temperatures can rise almost 20 degrees Fahrenheit within ten minutes. Also, dress children in cool, loose clothing, and shade their faces with hats or an umbrella.
For more hints on preventing heat stroke, visit these CDC web sites:
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UStiA is a national association of insurance carriers, third-party administrators, insurance agencies and related businesses involved in the development, administration and marketing of travel insurance and travel assistance products.