News Release: HAMILTON, Bermuda – “Summer is a great time to get outside and enjoy the season. But, as our temperatures rise, we must be careful and stay hydrated and cool to avoid heat-related illness,” advised Minister of Health, Kim Wilson. “I encourage everyone to drink plenty of water, wear sunscreen and a hat, and avoid staying in the sun for too long.”

Here are some tips for seniors, children and people working outside to stay safe in the heat:

Stay Hydrated

When the mercury rises, it’s crucial to keep yourself hydrated. Dehydration can lead to a range of health issues, from heat exhaustion to heatstroke. Carry a reusable water bottle wherever you go, and aim to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day. If you engage in physical activities or spend time outdoors, drink even more water to replenish what you sweat out.

Dress Appropriately

The right clothing can make a significant difference in dealing with the summer heat. Opt for loose-fitting, lightweight, and light-colored clothing that allows your skin to breathe. Light-colored fabrics reflect sunlight, while darker colors absorb it, making you feel even hotter. Additionally, don’t forget to wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses to protect your head and eyes from the sun’s intense rays.

Seek Shade

When the sun is at its peak, usually between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., try to stay in the shade as much as possible. Shade provides natural protection from the sun and helps you avoid overexposure to harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. If you’re at the beach or in an open area, bring along a beach umbrella or a pop-up tent to create shade.

Apply Sunscreen

Sunscreen is your skin’s best friend during the summer. Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 and apply it generously to all exposed skin areas, including your face, neck, arms, and legs. Reapply every two hours or more frequently if you’re swimming or sweating profusely. Sunscreen helps reduce the risk of sunburn, skin aging, and skin cancer.

Don’t Forget Your Eyes

While we often prioritize protecting our skin, we should also take care of our eyes during the summer months. Prolonged exposure to UV rays can lead to eye damage and increase the risk of cataracts and other eye conditions. Wear sunglasses that block at least 99% of UVA and UVB rays to shield your eyes from the sun’s harmful effects.

Limit Outdoor Activities

Limit outdoor activities during the hottest parts of the day if you can. Instead, schedule your outdoor adventures for the early morning or late afternoon when the temperatures are relatively cooler. Plan your outdoor workouts or exercises for early or late hours as well to avoid overheating and exhaustion.

Use Cooling Products

Several cooling products are available on the market that can help you stay comfortable in the summer heat. Cooling towels, vests, and bandanas absorb moisture and provide a refreshing sensation when draped around your neck or forehead. Additionally, portable fans or misting devices can offer some relief from the heat when you’re on the move.

Know the Signs of Heat-Related Illnesses

Understanding the signs of heat-related illnesses is crucial for early intervention and preventing serious health issues. Some common heat-related illnesses include:

  • Heat Exhaustion: Symptoms include heavy sweating, weakness, dizziness, nausea, headache, and muscle cramps
  • Heatstroke: This is a severe and life-threatening condition characterized by a high body temperature (above 103°F or 39.4°C), confusion, rapid pulse, and loss of consciousness

If you or someone around you shows signs of heat-related illness, move to a cooler place immediately, drink water, and seek medical assistance if needed

Check on Vulnerable Individuals

Keep an eye out for vulnerable individuals, such as the elderly, young children, pregnant women, and those with chronic medical conditions. These groups are more susceptible to heat-related illnesses and may require extra attention and assistance during the summer months.

Avoid Hot Cars

Never leave anyone, including pets, inside a parked car during hot weather. Even with the windows cracked, the interior of a car can reach dangerously high temperatures within minutes, leading to heatstroke and even death. Always double-check your car to ensure no one is left behind before locking it.

Minister Wilson concluded: “Summer is a time for relaxation and enjoyment, but staying safe in the scorching heat is essential. You can have a delightful and safe summer season by staying hydrated, dressing appropriately, seeking shade, wearing sunscreen, and being mindful of the signs of heat-related illnesses.”