Fact or Fiction? Ask the Nurse!
Do you have questions about health information? In this column, nurses from the UW-Madison School of Nursing will answer common health and wellness questions and help us figure out FACT from FICTION.
I want to garden or walk outside in the summer, but am not sure I can protect myself from heat stroke.
FACT: Heatstroke is predictable and preventable. Take these steps to prevent heatstroke during hot weather:
Get used to the heat. Limit the time you spend working or exercising in the heat until you’re conditioned to it. People who are not used to hot weather can be at risk for heat-related illness, including heatstroke. It can take several weeks for your body to adjust to hot weather.
Wear loose-fitting, lightweight clothing. Wearing too many clothes or clothing that fits tightly won’t allow your body to cool properly.
Wear light-colored clothing if you’re in the sun. Dark clothing absorbs heat. Light-colored clothing can help keep you cool by reflecting the sun’s rays.
Drink plenty of fluids. Staying hydrated will help your body sweat and maintain a normal body temperature.
Take it easy during the hottest parts of the day. Go outside during the coolest parts of the day, such as early morning or evening. Take breaks to rest in a cool spot and keep drinking water to help your body regulate your temperature.
Be cautious if you’re at increased risk. If you take medications or have a physical condition that increases your risk of heat-related problems, avoid the heat and act quickly if you notice symptoms of overheating.