Beating the Heat
As the temperature rises, you may be wondering how to beat the heat.
If you aren’t careful, hot weather can negatively impact your body, and as a result, your daily activities.
“Being physically active in warmer weather requires you to take certain steps to maintain your energy and ensure optimal performance,” says Dr. John Williams, a primary care physician with Middlesex Health Family Medicine. “This also helps your overall health and wellness.”
So, what should you do to beat the heat? Stay hydrated, and protect yourself from the sun.
Staying well hydrated can decrease your risk of heat-related illness, such as heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Studies show that staying hydrated can also improve your performance!
When selecting a drink to bring with you on the course, Dr. Williams says the best choice is always water. However, you might also want to consider an alternative, such as a small amount of a healthy electrolyte replacement drink.
Electrolytes are important for maintaining proper nerve and muscle function and certain sports drinks can help replenish the electrolytes that you lose when you are physically active. The more you sweat, the more fluids you need to replace!
If you choose to consume a sports drink, be informed. Read the label to ensure that it is not high in sugar, Dr. Williams says.
In addition, you may want to limit alcohol and caffeinated beverages, particularly when the weather is warmer. These drinks can increase your chances of dehydration.
The sun’s rays can be harmful, affecting your skin, lips, ears and eyes, and if you spend ample time outdoors, you are at risk for skin cancer because of extended sun exposure. That’s why it is so important to protect your body from the sun when participating in other outdoor activities, such as when swimming, golfing or gardening.
Dr. Williams says you should:
- Apply a broad spectrum sunscreen that is SPF 30 or higher and water resistant, and reapply at least every two hours.
- Seek shade whenever possible.
- Wear a hat, preferably one with a broadbrim.
- Wear sun-protective clothing, specifically clothing that is labeled with an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) rating of 30 or higher.
- Plan plan outdoor activities before 10 a.m. or after 2 p.m., whenever possible, to avoid the strongest sun exposure.
- Remember to apply lip balm with SPF 25 or higher.
- Wear polarized sunglasses that block UVA and UVB light. Remember that direct sunlight, along with light that reflects off of other things like grass,soil, dry sand and water, can damage your eyes. It’s best to protect them!
Skin cancer can develop when skin is exposed to the sun, and it can affect anyone regardless of age, gender or skin tone. The best way to reduce your risk of getting skin cancer is by limiting or avoiding exposure to the sun.
Checking your skin for changes in appearance throughout the year is important to catching any potential problems early, Dr. Wiliams says, adding having a preventive care visit with your primary care provider annually is an opportunity for you to discuss any skin concerns.
About Middlesex Health Primary Care
Middlesex Health has 12 primary care offices and three family medicine offices throughout Middlesex County and along the Connecticut shoreline. Its primary care providers can see you for your wellness visits, as well as when you are sick. They also administer COVID-19 vaccines and can offer health and wellness advice, such as the advice provided in this story.
Both Middlesex Health Primary Care and Middlesex Health Family Medicine are consistently recognized as Patient-Centered Medical Homes. This recognizes practices that use evidence-based, patient-centered processes that focus on providing highly coordinated care and fostering long-term, participative relationships. This is considered the gold standard measurement for primary care.
For more information about Middlesex Health Primary Care or Middlesex Health Family Medicine, click here.
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