Be Proactive To Avoid Heat Exhaustion:
Many ADHD medications, as well as medications for other conditions, increase the body’s sensitivity to the heat or sun. Heat/Sun sensitivity often occurs when medication combines with proteins in the skin to form substances which react with direct light. Sun exposure of as little as thirty minutes can cause a variety of reactions. Some signs of sensitivity are severe sunburn, skin rashes, nausea and vomiting, flushed or pale skin, and confusion and fainting. For more on heat/sun exhaustion read: ADHD Medication and Summer Heat – Part 1.
- If possible, stay out of the sun between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 a.m., when the sun is at it’s strongest. Whether your job has you working outside, or you enjoy outdoor summer activities every chance you get, you need to protect yourself from overheating and dehydration.
- Do not wait until you feel thirsty to drink! If you feel thirsty, you are already on your way to dehydration. Keep a large, insulated, portable water bottle with you at all times and drink enough to fill it several times a day. Please read Web MD’s article, Water Tips for Efficient Exercise to better understand how much water to drink when perspiring.
- If going to the beach, pool or park, use an umbrella or a pop up tent.
- Wear a light colored hat with mesh, or holes, for ventilation.
- Wear a cool, wet bandanna under your hat, if you are going to be exerting yourself out in the sun, for any length of time.
- Always wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from the damaging sun rays.
- Wear breathable clothes made of 100% cotton or with moisture wicking technology. If you work in the heat, or sun, this means everything from socks to underwear to outerwear. UVA rays can cause immuno-suppression, weakening the body’s ability to protect itself.
- For frequent heat/sun exposure, consider investing in clothing with SPF protection. At sungrubbies.com you can shop by activity, whether you’re going to the beach, camping, or work!
- Wear light colored, & light weight, clothes. Dark colors attract the sun.
- Use a Stay Cool Pad This pad doesn’t need refrigeration to stay cool. Need to cool off? Lay with pad on back or chest, sit on it, or place it between your back and the back of a chair.
- Use an Arctic Bandanna, Consider purchasing two, so you can switch off and always have one ready and available as the other loses it’s coolness. Cover with water and keep sealed in a plastic container. Place container in cooler to stay cool.
- Apply 30 SPF Sunscreen, half an hour before going into sun. Remember to cover the tops of your feet, back of your hands, neck and ears. Reapply according to directions.
- If you are in heat, or sun, regularly, consider using cooling wrist wraps.
To reduce your risk of heat exhaustion, or stroke, use the above tools, drink plenty of cool, but not cold, water throughout the time of exposure, and take frequent breaks to cool down, at least 5 minutes out of every hour, if working in the summer heat. Remember: do not let yourself go into low blood sugar. Eat regular healthy meals and snacks, high in protein.
If keeping track of time is a problem for you, set your phone alerts for regular intervals to remind you to take a break and cool down by hydrating (water is best!), rewetting, or switching out your cooling bandana for another, and snacking on nuts or an energy bar. Running cool water over the pulse points on your wrists can also help to cool you off.
Remember, even if the sun isn’t out, cloudy days can still be hot and humid, and hold the same risk for those susceptible to overheating.
Summer Heat Can Still Affect You Indoors:
Even if you don’t spend much time in the summer sun, your meds can still cause the heat to have an adverse impact on you. If possible, stay indoors and use air-conditioning during periods of extreme heat and humidity. If air conditioning isn’t available, keep the room cool by keeping the windows covered and using a fan. It is still important to drink two liters of water daily…that’s 8 eight oz glasses!
If you exercise, do so early in the day, when it’s at it’s coolest. If you walk for exercise, go to the air conditioned mall rather than outside, on any humid days or days over 85 degrees.
And most importantly…know yourself well enough to know your limits and mindfully avoid pushing yourself to them!
Exactly How Much Water Should You Drink?
The appropriate amount of water you need on any given day varies from person to person and is determined by multiple variables such as your activity level and the temperature. To determine a more accurate level of hydration, specifically for you, try CamelBak’s Hydration Calculator.
Here is a list of additional products to help avoid over heating!*
For Those Who Work Outdoors:
*I have not personally tried all of these items. The knowledge provided is for informational purposes only and should not be considered an endorsement of these products.