How to Avoid Overheating in the Summer Sun
By John Ibach,
Director of Outdoor Recreation
In our desert environment the summer months are hot. Those of us who live here are accustomed to taking the necessary precautions against heat exposure.
When you arrive at Red Mountain one of the first things you will be told is to drink plenty of fluids while you are here. Each morning as we prepare for a hike, the guides will ask if you have your water bottles full and ready to go. Other precautions again heat exposure include a wide brimmed hat, sunglasses and 30 SPF sun block.
Heat-related emergencies can occur as a result of fluid and electrolyte (salts) loss through heavy sweating. Loss of fluid and electrolytes can begin to produce painful spasms of skeletal muscles usually in the legs and abdomen. Body temperature is usually normal, and the skin is moist. Over time, the victim loses fluid through sweating, which decreases the blood volume. Blood flow to the skin increases, reducing blood flow to the vital organs. Because the circulatory system is affected, the person goes into mild shock. At this point the victims body temperature will usually be normal or below normal.
Other signs and symptoms include:
- Cool, moist, pail or ashen skin. (Skin may be red in the early stage, immediately after exertion.)
- Dizziness and weakness
In this stage, heat-related illness can usually be reversed with prompt care. Often the victim feels better after resting in a cooler place and drinking cool water.
We want you to enjoy your stay with us and want you to take the steps necessary to prevent heat-related illnesses. Stay safe!