12 Ways to Cool Off Heat Exhaustion
With high temperatures seeming to break records on a daily basis, it's essential to learn how to stay safe in the heat so you can safely keep pursuing the activities you love and the work you do.
At Mission, we know that one of the most important things is to dress for the job, but even if you're decked out head-to-toe in our cooling products, there is a lot more to keeping your body safe from heat exhaustion which, if left unchecked, can lead to a serious medical issue called heat stroke.
The Basics About Heat Sickness
There are two types of heat-related illnesses that can occur when your body is unable to cool itself adequately: heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Heat exhaustion symptoms include heavy sweating, muscle cramps, weakness, headache, nausea or vomiting, and fainting. If heat exhaustion is left untreated, it can progress to heat stroke, which is a medical emergency.
Symptoms of heat stroke include a body temperature above 103 degrees Fahrenheit, red, hot, and dry skin (no sweating), rapid pulse, throbbing headache, dizziness, and nausea. If you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms, call 911 IMMEDIATELY.
If you feel like the heat is starting to get to you, it's likely that you're in the early stages of heat exhaustion and need to take steps to combat it. Check out our list of the best ways to beat heat exhaustion so you can stay cool all summer long!
Water is the most important fluid for you to be focusing on, but you will need to supplement your H2O intake with electrolytes to replenish the salts and minerals that your body is losing through sweat. Avoid alcohol and sugary drinks, as they can actually dehydrate you, but don't fall for the myth that caffeine will dehydrate you — coffee is a diuretic, meaning that it will cause you to urinate more frequently, but a cup of tea or coffee an hour before you get started won't have any major impacts on your ability to stay safe, hydrated, and cool.
Get To a Cooler Environment
This is one of the best ways to combat heat exhaustion. If you don't have access to air conditioning, try to find a cool spot outdoors in the shade or go to a public library, movie theater, or shopping mall. When you start to feel the typical symptoms of heat exhaustion coming on, such as headache, dizziness, or nausea, don't push it — give yourself a break and find a cooler place to rest.
Dress For the Occasion
Tight clothing will trap heat and sweat against your skin, making it harder for your body to cool itself, and dark colors absorb heat instead of reflecting it. Wearing something like the Mission Cooling Performance Hat in a light color will help reflect heat away from your body, and by wetting, wringing out, and waving your hat, you can enjoy temperatures of up to 30 degrees cooler than your body temp for up to 2 hours.
Hop In the Water
Getting into a cold shower or tub — or a mountain stream, lake, pond, or anywhere else it's safe to swim — is another highly effective way to lower your body temperature, cool your skin, and help curb the effects of heat exhaustion before it becomes more serious.
Wetting a piece of cloth like our Max Cooling Towel and putting it around your neck, across your chest, over your shoulders, or draped over your head will help cool you down by evaporative cooling. This is a very effective way to lower your body temperature when it's hot out, and it will also help keep the sweat from dripping into your eyes.
Remove Excess Clothing
This might not be appropriate for all situations, but if possible, take a few layers of clothing off to allow some additional airflow on your skin to help aid in the process of evaporative cooling. If stripping down isn't an option, make sure you are wearing clothing that can help you keep cool, like any of the options offered by Mission.
Use a Handheld Fan
Our Instant Cooling Fan is designed to fit perfectly into any cupholder, and the double-walled chamber keeps not one, not two, but THREE ice packs frozen while the integrated fan keeps cold air flowing. If you don't have one of these handy little guys, any handheld fan will do the trick. Remember that the most important thing is to cool your body, and this is a great gadget to help combat the effects of heat.
A wide-brimmed hat will protect your face, neck, and head from the sun's harsh rays, and something like Mission's Sun Defender Cooling Hat does a great job — all while providing you with continuous cooling effects from our proprietary cooling technology woven directly into the fabric. Keeping your head cool, literally and figuratively, is one of the most important things you can do in hot weather.
Chill Your Dogs
Wearing cooling socks is another great way to help cool your extremities to avoid a situation where you can't control your body temperature and start showing signs of heat exhaustion — or worse, heat stroke. Our Cooling Socks are made with a special fabric that's designed to wick away moisture and evaporate sweat while also providing you with continuous cooling for up to two hours.
You might not think of sunscreen as a way to cool off, but it's important to remember that the sun's UV rays can cause sunburn, which will actually make you feel hotter and can. Slathering on some SPF 30 or higher will help protect you from the sun's harmful rays, and it will also keep you cooler by protecting you "against the negative effects of ultraviolet light on nitric oxide and skin blood vessel function," according to a recent study.
Eat Cool Foods
Foods like watermelon, cucumber, and cantaloupe are not only filled with water but also have a high water content. This will help you stay hydrated while also cooling you down — and it tastes great while you're doing it!
Get Medical Attention
If nothing is working, and you're starting to feel faint, have a headache, or are having trouble breathing, it's time to get medical attention. These are all signs of heat stroke, which is a serious condition that can be fatal if not treated immediately. Don't use the people around you as a gauge of whether or not you should be concerned — everyone's body is different, and some people can handle extreme conditions easier than others. If you aren't feeling good, make sure that you take immediate steps to get yourself to a cool, shady area and call for help.
Don't Take Heat Exhaustion Lightly
The most important thing to remember is that heat exhaustion is serious business, and it can quickly turn into heat stroke if not treated properly. Be sure to take breaks often, stay hydrated, and use any of the cooling products from Mission to help you stay comfortable and safe in the heat. With a little bit of preparation, you can enjoy the summer weather without having to limit yourself because of the effects of the heat.