Be sure to ‘cool it’ this summer: Five ways to stay safe in the Michigan heat
It’s already been a hot summer — and Michigan residents won’t be getting much of a reprieve any time soon.
With the Ann Arbor Art Fairs taking place in a few days, and dozens of other festivals and events scheduled across the state in the coming weeks, it’s likely you’ll be spending some time outdoors.
So how can you be sure to keep yourself and those around you safe in the summer sun?
Follow these five easy-to-remember tips:
Drink water, lots of water
Drinking water and staying hydrated is always important, no matter the weather conditions. But it becomes even more vital during the hot summer months.
Why is it so important? Water replenishes the fluids you lose when you sweat and even helps protect you against sun burns (more on that later).
So keep a water bottle with you at all times.
One important thing to keep in mind: alcohol, sodas and other sugary and caffeinated drinks do not work as an alternative to water. In fact, they will cause your body to become even more dehydrated.
Slather on the sunscreen
The summer sun’s strong ultraviolet rays can do a number on your skin, making skin damage a major risk.
Wear a broad-brimmed hat and tight-knit, sun-protective clothing. And be sure to use a powerful sunscreen (at least an SPF-30 broad-spectrum product) and reapply it regularly.
Finally, find some shade when you can, especially during the midday hours.
Even after taking those precautions, it’s still possible to get sunburned. If you do, here are a few steps you can take to treat yourself:
- Moisturize your skin with Aloe Vera or soy.
- Let blisters heal — after all, blisters are your body’s natural way of protecting itself against further damage.
- Drink water: As mentioned above, water helps protect your skin. That’s because the fluid in your body will automatically be used to help treat the burn, so drinking more water will ensure you don’t get dehydrated.
- Take a cool shower: Pay attention to the details, too. Once you’ve finished your shower, keep your skin damp by just patting yourself dry.
- Take ibuprofen or Tylenol to reduce redness or swelling.
Check your skin
Sun burns aren’t the only danger of ultraviolet rays.
Over time, unprotected exposure to the sun can predispose a person to skin cancer (the most common form of cancer in the U.S.) and accelerated aging.
That’s why it’s so important to take a look at your skin — after a long day outside and at least once a month year-round.
Look out for signs of heat-related illness
It’s vital that you pay close attention to how you’re feeling while out in the heat. And be sure to check on those around you.
Dizziness, nausea and headaches are often signals that your body is dealing with a heat-related illness such as dehydration or heat stroke. If any of those symptoms are present, get help immediately.
Watch the weather
As the saying goes, if you don’t like the weather in Michigan, just wait five minutes!
Tornadoes and lightning are all threats that come with summer thunderstorms, which can hit quickly. Be sure to follow media or social media reports. It’s also helpful to download an app to your phone that will give you a heads up when dangerous weather is headed your way.
If you find yourself in the line of a storm, find shelter immediately — preferably indoors and away from windows.
With these handy tips at the top of your mind, you’ll be able to enjoy all that Michigan offers this summer!