FIRST AID -- There's nothing like a sweltering week of relentless summer sunshine to prompt a review of heat-caused illnesses.
Knowing the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke (see graphic above) helps you look after your own health as well as the health of others in your party.
One of the best ways to avoid heat-related illnesses is to adjust your schedule to the weather... get your butt out of bed earlier for outdoor activities.
While backpacking through the Pasayten Wilderness a few years ago, our group of three and one dog endured very hot temperatures. When we mapped out one long 16-mile stretch without water, we opted to get up at 3 a.m. and start hiking by moonlight. We all marveled at what a sweet decision that was after we got on the trail -- and when we finished as the sun was bearing down with a fist.
It was 100 degrees in Twisp at noon that day when we drove out of the mountains. Getting up early allowed us to get most of the trail miles behind us before the heat was on.
As a routine this summer here at home, I've been running my hunting dogs at 5:30 - 6 p.m. or getting them out to cool lakes for swimming exercise. Hot weather isn't necessarily a reason to stop important conditioning and training for hunting seasons.
But do it sensibly.
Heat illness prevention measures recommended by the Center for Disease Control include:
- Drink plenty of fluids even if you don’t feel thirsty.
- Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing and sunscreen.
- Do not leave children or pets in cars.
- Schedule outdoor activities carefully and pace yourself.
- Take regular breaks from direct sun exposure in the shade or an air-conditioned, indoor location.
- Take cool showers, baths or dips in the lake or river to cool down.
- Check the weather reports for planning activities.