Staying safe in the summer heat

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn (WATE) With summer activities in full swing, there’s one underlying factor that needs attention, how to stay safe in in the summer heat.

For starters, the differences between heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Heat exhaustion occurs when your body overheats and can’t cool itself naturally. Heat stroke is the advanced stages of that process, but worse. The point at which your body temperature passes 104-degrees, can cause coma or even death.

Dr. Heather Edgely from Children’s hospital telling us about the symptoms to watch for, “When you’re overheated, you should have thirst, then you might feel dizzy, fatigued or tired, sleepy or nauseated. Eventually as you get worse and worse, your body has used up those fluids and you’re going to stop sweating. You’re going to be dry and cool which is really against what you think it would be if you’re heat exhausted.”

Some tips to fight it are by drinking water, or an electrolyte solution (sports drink.) Get into the shade or into an air-conditioned space to cool off. If it gets worse, you might need to make your way to the emergency room.

When you’re outdoors you need to be thinking about sun protection, even if you’re not sunbathing, any tan is sun damage. Keep the sun off your skin with protective clothing, a hat, or just stay in the shade.

As for sunscreen, Leslie Heller with Greater Knoxville Dermatology says, “Of course spf 30 broad spectrum water resistant are always advised every time you go outside, and what I prefer for patients is sunscreens with zinc oxide, and titanium dioxide. Which are physical sunscreens that will create a shield and will block the sun and do not penetrate the skin.”

Heller also urges that sunglasses are another key item to staying safe in the sun, saying, “…people forget that cancer of the eye can also be a risk.”

For those of you heading out on the lake, make sure to check the forecast before you go. Avoid any adverse weather if possible, but if you ride-out a storm in a boat, TRWA says to make sure everyone is wearing a life jacket and stays low near the center of the boat.

When it comes to camping in the mountains, remember that streams and rivers can rise rapidly if storms blow through. Make sure to watch for overhead branches which may fall on your campsite. Always have some emergency supplies handy: food, water, a map, compass and a flashlight.

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