It’s summertime! As the weather turns warmer and people are able to get out of the house and complete more outdoor activities, whether for fun or for work, it is important to remember to be as safe as possible while outdoors. Part of being safe means protecting yourself from the heat, and/or overexposure to the sun. Below, we discuss how to prevent heat related illness and beat the heat.

The sun is the center of our solar system, and provides the optimal conditions necessary to sustain life. Heat, light, and beautiful daily changing sunsets are all benefits we enjoy from the sun. In addition, sunshine also helps the body to produce vitamin D, which plays a role in calcium absorption, protecting bone, muscle, and heart health, and boosts immune function.

However, too much of a good thing is actually a bad thing, and sunshine is no different. We’ve likely all felt the sting of a freshly acquired sunburn. The fact is, it only takes roughly 15 minutes to get a sunburn, though people with fairer skin can actually begin to burn in as little as 5 minutes. As a person spends more time in the sun, the severity of the burn can also increase and progress to a second degree burn which can even blister. That’s why it is important to make sure to protect yourself from the sun’s rays. Using sunscreen with a high level of protection (SPF), or wearing clothing and hats to cover skin is a good way to avoid a burn. Also limiting exposure out in the sun is helpful.

With warmer weather, heat can also produce various dangers. These dangers are most prevalent in the form of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Especially in very hot weather, or when completing strenuous exercise a person may experience heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Being able to recognize the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke are critical in helping someone suffering from them, and could even save their life.

In heat exhaustion, a person’s ability to cool themselves becomes impaired and less efficient, as a result of increased heat being produced either by environment or workload. In heat exhaustion, a person can display heavy sweating, fainting, dizziness, fatigue, weak rapid pulse, low blood pressure upon standing, muscle cramps, nausea, and/or headache. If a person is suspected of suffering from heat exhaustion, they should stop all activity and move to a cooler area. They should also drink water or sports drinks. Medical attention is warranted if the person becomes agitated, loses consciousness, or core body temperature reaches 104 degrees or more.

Heatstroke is even more serious than heat exhaustion. In heatstroke, the body has completely lost the ability to cool itself. The complications can involve damage to organs or muscles. The signs and symptoms include dry hot skin, body temperature of 104 degrees or more, flushed skin, altered mental state including confusion, delirium, agitation, or seizures, nausea and vomiting, rapid heart rate, or rapid breathing, and/or headache. Heatstroke is always life threatening, and a person suffering from it should be cooled by any means available, while getting medical attention. Placing in a cool tub of water, spraying with water, removing excess clothing, and placing ice packs under the armpits, and on the head, neck, and groin are all good measures while waiting for medical personnel.

The summer can be a fun time. But knowing the dangers inherent to heat and sunshine can help to maximize that fun.

Gillette Office

Fax: 307.686.9484

1103 E. Boxelder Rd. Suite U
Gillette, WY 82718

7am – 6pm
Monday – Thursday
7am – 5pm Friday
Or by appointment

Sundance Office

Fax: 307.696.2895

220 East Main Street,
Sundance, Wyoming 82729

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Newcastle Office

Fax: 307.696.2896

219 West Main Street
Newcastle, Wyoming 82701

7am – 6pm
Monday – Thursday
8am – 12pm Friday
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