Summer is here in full force. July and August are usually the hottest months of the year. During the summer, we would normally be heading to movie theaters, hopping into pools, and dining in restaurants to escape the heat. With the closures of some indoor locations and social distancing concerns, many families have taken recreational activities outdoors.
Taking time to go outside and get vitamin D is proven beneficial for our mental health and immune system. However, extended time out in the heat can lead to some unintended issues.
What are some problems that severe heat might cause? Being outside and active in the heat can cause dehydration and increase our body’s internal temperature, leading to heat rash, heat exhaustion, or even heat stroke. Thankfully there are some ways to stay cool this summer and beat this heat.
Prepare for a day outside
One of the best ways to protect ourselves from the heat is to prepare for hot weather and plan our day around it.
Keep your eye on the weather forecast.
Have you seen the temperature rise over 100? Days like these make everyday activities more difficult. If you're planning to have some outdoor fun, avoid going outside during the middle of the day. It's usually hottest between the hours of 11 am and 3 pm, so try to plan outdoor activities outside of this time. During the middle of the day, stay cool by staying indoors or in the shade.
Know the signs of overheating.
Younger children are at an increased risk of overheating during hot weather because their bodies have a harder time regulating their body temperature. You can make sure your family stays safe under the summer sun by looking out for signs of overheating, like stomach and leg cramps, thirst, tiredness, and cold, wet skin. If you notice any of these symptoms, take action to help them cool down.
Staying hydrated is one of the easiest and most effective ways to keep our bodies from overheating when we go outside.
Drink more water.
The best thing to drink to stay hydrated is a good ol’ fashioned water. We can also get more water by eating more fruits and vegetables that contain lots of water like berries, green leafy vegetables, cucumber, and tomatoes. Find more ways to hydrate by checking out our blog,
“5 Ways to Help Your Child Drink Water.”
Avoid drinks with high caffeine and sugar.
Not all liquids are the same. Drinks that contain lots of caffeine or sugar dehydrate you. Caffeine may cause us to have to use the bathroom more. Drinks with a lot of sugar, such as soda, can reduce the amount of fluid that our bodies retain.
When we sweat, water and electrolytes leave the body. If you don’t replace the water and electrolytes lost through sweating by drinking more fluids, the body's water levels will be out of balance and the body may overheat. When that happens, it’s important to consume drinks that contain electrolytes.
What are electrolytes? Most simply they are essential minerals -like sodium, calcium, and potassium- that become electrically charged when dissolved in water. They're vital for health and survival because they keep our body functioning the way it should. One of the ways they do this is by balancing the amount of water in your body to keep us hydrated!
Usually, when people think of replenishing electrolytes, they think of sugary sports drinks, but there are some healthier alternatives to get electrolytes with items you may already have in your home. Here is a list of 3 natural sources to replenish electrolytes after getting your sweat on!
1. SEA SALT-Put a pinch of sea salt(not table/iodized salt) in water and drink up! Adding sea salt to water is probably the easiest and cheapest method. I like Himalayan pink salt, but there are tons out there!
2. COCONUT WATER-High in potassium and a much lower sugar alternative to your typical sports drink. Check your labels to make sure you get pure 100% coconut water with no additives.
3. LEMON JUICE-Citrus, in general, is an excellent source of essential minerals, but lemon is the lowest in sugar. Squeeze fresh lemon juice into a glass of water and enjoy. This tip is also useful for people who don’t enjoy the taste of plain water.
Keep the heat away by trying some of our sweet treats.
Breakfast Popsicle: Slice strawberries, blueberries, and kiwis. Combine the cut fruit with Vanilla Greek Yogurt. Pour the yogurt and fruit mix into Dixie cups and freeze. You can even add granola if you like. Unmold and serve!
Chocolate Covered Frozen Bananas: Peel your bananas and slice them in half. Insert a popsicle stick into the flat end. Lay the bananas on parchment or wax paper and place in the freezer for at least 2 hours overnight. Melt the chocolate in the microwave for about 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, Dip the frozen bananas into the melted chocolate, then place back on paper until fully hardened.
Play with water
There are lots of things we can do even when it’s hot outside. An excellent way to keep cool in the summer heat is by playing with water.
Running under the sprinkler, visiting splash pads, and having a water balloon fight are ways to have fun with water. Here are some more ideas…
Make a splash pad at home: spread out a clean tarp on a grassy area and place a sprinkler nearby. After a while, the water will make puddles that will be fun to stomp around in.
Play water tag: Play a fun game by filling a bottle with water, and the person that is “it” will try to splash the other player with water.
Wash the car: Have your kids help wash the car with a bucket of water, soap and some sponges. Not only is this a great way to stay cool but it teaches children the importance of chores.
Have a sponge fight: This is a fun alternative to a water balloon fight. It’s especially good for smaller kids who might find water balloons a little too intense. Just grab some sponges, fill up a bucket of water, and have fun!
Still too hot out there? Try playing a typical outdoor game inside, like hide and seek, hopscotch, or jump rope.
We hope these tips help you and your family beat this heat and stay cool all summer long!