Heat-related illnesses happen when a person’s body temperature rises and becomes unable to cool itself down through sweating. As we perspire, we lose body fluids that need to be replenished. The best way to enjoy summer outdoor activities is to properly prepare for the heat and know the warning signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
In addition to proper hydration, you should also wear a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen, as well as lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing to help protect you from the sun’s rays. Signs of overheating often include heavy sweating, dizziness, fast pulse, muscle cramps, headache, nausea or vomiting, and confusion. If any of these symptoms occur, move to shade or a cooler place as soon as possible. If symptoms continue or worsen, contact a local park ranger or medical personnel immediately.
Hiking with friends and family is always recommended, but especially during hotter weather. Be sure to keep mental notes on how your body is feeling and check-in with your trail mates to help identify any potential symptoms of heat-related illness. Do not overexert yourself during outdoor activities. It’s always ok to turn back and finish a trail at a later date.
For a comprehensive list of heat-related illness symptoms and how to treat them, take a look at the Warning Signs and Symptoms of Heat-Related Illness chart from the CDC.
Additional tips and safety precautions for exploring the Landmarks can be found at letsgooutside.org/activities/trail-tips. For more information about the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks, visit IRConservancy.org or follow the Landmarks on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.