Hot summer days are perfect for trips to the beach or pool, cookouts, or hikes in the shady outdoors. But they’re not so ideal when the soaring heat index causes you to feel lightheaded or dizzy.
If you get headaches during the summer, it might not be just a dehydration problem. You might have mechanical blood flow problems. A quick visit to our urgent-care clinic can help you find out if you have underlying issues or if you just need to drink more cold fluids during the sizzling summer days.
Fortunately, there are ways to deal with summertime fatigue, dizziness, or headaches. First, however, you need to know what to look out for during the hottest season of the year.
How Does Summer Heat Affect Your Body?
Prolonged exposure to high temperatures can play havoc with your blood pressure, leading to inadequate oxygen levels to your brain – causing headaches, dizziness, and nausea, not to mention increased thirst, anxiety, and fatigue. Your need a steady flow of blood to transport oxygen to your brain, so as to enable your body to function efficiently.
And it’s not as if blood pressure medicine can help. Common blood pressure medications only lower the blood pressure and oxygen delivery to your brain, making your symptoms even worse.
Ideally, your normal body temperature should be 98.6 Fahrenheit. When exposed to extreme heat for a period of time, or when your own body generates more heat than it needs through activity, your body looks for ways to release some of the heat to maintain that “normal” temperature. Your heart rate increases, and vessels expand to deliver more blood to the outer layers of your skin, where the heat is released.
If this excess heat is not released quickly enough, or if the indoor or outdoor temperature is warmer than your body, you start to perspire. Water is drawn from your bloodstream to make sweat that carries heat through your pores and onto your skin, thus releasing the heat.
However, when blood goes toward your body surface to help cool you down, less goes to your muscles, brain, and other organs. Plus, you can lose quite a lot of water that would otherwise be used to deliver nutrients to your body, lubricate your joints, and clear out wastes.
Lose enough bodily fluid and you’re likely to experience increasingly severe symptoms of heat stress – and not just dizziness or headaches, but also blurred vision, confusion, loss of coordination and stamina, muscle cramps, and even unconsciousness.
How to Avoid Heat Stress on Hot Summer Days
To avoid suffering heat exhaustion, heat stroke, or other types of heat stress, stay as cool as possible on hot summer days by following these tips:
· Drink plenty of water or beverages with electrolytes to stay hydrated.
· Refrain from wearing heavy or tight, confining clothing.
· Apply fabric-wrapped ice packs or a towel soaked in cold water to your forehead, the back of your neck, and under your arms.
· Avoid extreme temperatures in your home by using air conditioning and/or a fan, use a microwave instead of an oven for cooking, and take cool or lukewarm showers.
· Avoid alcohol, which can dehydrate you.
· Put off dieting that involves fasting, which may contribute to fainting and dizzy spells.
· Avoid activities that can cause hyperventilation, which can cause you to faint.
Urgent Care in Pennsylvania for Your Family
If you are in need of urgent care, come see us at Patient Care Now Urgent Care center. We are open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Owned and operated by board-certified emergency medicine providers, we pride ourselves in offering a seamless experience to our patients. Call us at (267) 202-6433 for all your urgent care needs, or use our online check-in form.