12 Tips to Help Prevent Heat Sickness and Related Illnesses on Vacation

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These tips will help you prevent heat sickness or heat related illness on vacation.
Vacation is a time for fun. Summer is probably the most popular time to get out of town. We tend to throw normal caution to the wind when planning all the fun we'll have when we're away. When planning for a getaway few people take the time to learn how to prevent heat sickness on vacation.

Heat sickness (also called heat exhaustion or a more dangerous form called heat stroke) doesn't just strike people who are traveling to the desert. Some people are more susceptible to heat related illness than others. For these people the extra exertion can take its toll even if traveling to a relatively cool part of the country.

Part of the reason comes from the extra exertion while we're on vacation. Some people, like diabetics, people with asthma, heart conditions or those who are on diuretics are more susceptible to heat illnesses than other.

You may want to talk with your doctor before traveling this summer. No article can substitute for quality medical care from your healthcare provider.

Planning how to prevent heat sickness on vacation is as important as packing our map and sunscreen. Actually, the sunscreen that you pack is one of your first lines of defense against heat sickness. Why? Because a sunburned body cannot effectively cool itself off and that makes you more vulnerable.

What else can you do to prevent heat sickness on vacation? Read on for tips.

Prevent heat sickness on vacation tip #1

Leave the skin tight jeans at home.

Wear loose fitting light colored clothing. This allows air to circulate around your body which helps to keep you cool. Light colors reflect heat. Dark colors absorb heat and can help raise your body temperature. Shorts and sleeveless shirts can help you be more comfortable on vacation.

Prevent heat sickness on vacation tip #2

Drink lots of fluids.

Staying hydrated means that your body will have the electrolytes it needs to function. This may mean carrying a bottle of water with you and sipping on it constantly. Powdered drink mixes are available to add electrolytes to your bottled water. Electrolyte drinks can help replenish electrolytes that are lost by sweating. Some people may find that eating salty snacks and bananas will help keep the electrolytes balanced. If you are on a diuretic or have a health condition always check with your doctor on the best ways for you to stay hydrated.

Prevent heat sickness on vacation tip #3

Learn the symptoms.

Heat sickness begins with subtle changes and can progress to heat stroke. According to Medicinenet signs of heat sickness can include a headache, tiredness, muscle cramps, weakness and more. Click the link above for a full list.

Prevent heat sickness on vacation tip #4

Get out of the car.

Sometimes it's tempting to let a family member or friend run into a store while you wait in the car. Avoid this unless you know for certain that you can keep the air conditioner running and the car cool. Cars quickly become ovens in the hot summer sun. Even a few minutes in a hot car can be enough to dehydrate you.

Prevent heat sickness on vacation tip #5

Watch the grandparents and the kids.

Older people and children are more prone to heat illness. Be sure to keep them well hydrated and be alert for any symptoms. If some of the symptoms are present and you don't know what to do or if the person isn't recovering quickly get professional help or call 911.

Prevent heat sickness on vacation tip #6

Use an umbrella, hat or parasol to block the sun.

Take advantage of any shade that you can find. This is especially important if you are going to be out in the hot sun for any length of time. If you are on the beach either rent an umbrella or bring your own. You can also use an umbrella to shade you as you walk at theme parks or visit attractions. A wide brimmed hat will also help you stay cooler.

Prevent heat sickness on vacation tip #7

Lay off of the caffeine.

Sodas can actually work to dehydrate you. Stick to water or electrolyte beverages.

Prevent heat sickness on vacation tip #8

Plan a cool vacation.

If possible, visit the cooler areas of the country for vacation. Avoid the desert or dry desserts. Instead try going as far north as possible or head for the mountains. Research options online for cooler areas. This may not stop heat illness from happening but it can help.

Prevent heat sickness on vacation tip #9

Stay in groups.

Groups and couples can help monitor each other for signs of heat sickness. They can also get help for each other if the need arises.

Prevent heat sickness on vacation tip #10

Don't overdo it.

Don't try to do what you normally wouldn't do at home just because you are on vacation. Know your limits and stick to them.

Prevent heat sickness on vacation tip #11

Cool off in air conditioning.

The Mayo Clinic says that one of the best ways to beat heat illness is to be in an air conditioned building. Instead of having lunch at an outdoor stand find a place that's cool. Take in a show at a theme park. Watch a movie. Go back to your motel room. Find some place to cool off.

Prevent heat sickness on vacation tip #12

Take it slowly.

Acclimate yourself to the heat. Giving yourself time to adjust to the heat and the new surroundings can help you avoid heat sickness.

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Janet Hunt
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Posted on Jun 30, 2010

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Gayle Crabtree
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