It’s that time of year when getting outside with friends and family is just what we have been waiting for. Unfortunately sometimes we get a bit carried away and forget to take care of our bodies in the process and then it becomes not so fun after all.
Sunburn: Who hasn’t ever roasted themselves in the sun a little too much! The red, painful skin that feels hot to the touch, symptoms can also include itching, swelling, fluid-filled blisters, which may break, headache, fever, chills and fatigue if the sunburn is severe, appears within a few hours after too much exposure to ultraviolet light from sunshine, sunlamps or tanning booths. Intense, repeated sun exposure increases your risk of skin damage including dry or wrinkled skin, dark spots, rough spots, and skin cancers, such as melanoma.
Make sure to use a high SPF natural sunscreen that does not contain harmful chemicals and apply frequently throughout the day such as California Baby Sunscreen.
If you should get a sun burn apply immediately Silver Skin Gel (SilverBiotics) and use often. It will decrease the burning, blisters and prevent infection. Aloe and calendula topically is also helpful however I have found the Silver Skin Gel works better. (Great for wounds and diaper rash too!) Ageless Secret Skin Spray (Kasz Enterprises) is wonderful to help repair sun damaged skin particularly on your face so you don’t look like a dried out old saddlebag!
Dehydration / Heat Stroke: When we lose too much water, and don’t replenish it, the body becomes out of balance/ dehydrated, which can lead to chills, confusion, dizziness, fainting, blood clots, seizures, palpitations and sometimes fatal complications. The urine can become dark yellow or amber, or may have a foul odor. Research has shown that even mild dehydration can have adverse effects on mood and energy.
Being out in the hot sun is not the only way to become dehydrated. There are numerous causes, particularly as you get older. Studies have found after age 50 the ability to recognize thirst decreases and the kidneys lose some of their precision in regulating the body's water supply. To complicate matters some medications like diuretics, antihistamines, psychiatric drugs as well as people who drink less water because of frequent urination problems are at even higher risk.
Signs of dehydration can be:
Heat Stroke results from prolonged exposure to high temperatures -- usually in combination with dehydration -- which leads to failure of the body's temperature control system. Untreated heatstroke can quickly damage your brain, heart, kidneys and muscles. The damage worsens the longer treatment is delayed, increasing your risk of serious complications or death. Heatstroke signs and symptoms include: High body temperature (A core body temperature of 104 F (40 C) or higher, obtained with a rectal thermometer, is the main sign of heatstroke). Altered mental state or behavior (Confusion, agitation, slurred speech, irritability, delirium, seizures and coma can all result from heatstroke) Alteration in sweating. (In heatstroke brought on by hot weather, your skin will feel hot and dry to the touch. However, in heatstroke brought on by strenuous exercise, your skin may feel dry or slightly moist.) Nausea and vomiting, Flushed skin, Rapid breathing, Racing heart rate (pulse may significantly increase because heat stress places a tremendous burden on your heart to help cool your body) and Headache
Take immediate action to cool the overheated person while waiting for emergency treatment.
- Get the person into shade or indoors.
- Remove excess clothing.
- Cool the person with whatever means available — put in a cool tub of water or a cool shower, spray with a garden hose, sponge with cool water, fan while misting with cool water, or place ice packs or cold, wet towels on the person's head, neck, armpits and groin.
- Re-hydrate with ice water or Gatorade
Muscle Spasm/Cramping : When the nerves that connect to the muscles aren't surrounded by as much water and sodium (salt) as they need, they become hypersensitive, causing the muscles to involuntarily contract or spasm. Low blood levels of either calcium or magnesium directly increase the excitability of both the nerve endings and the muscles they stimulate. Low blood levels of potassium occasionally cause muscle cramps, although it is more common in muscle weakness.
Headaches/ Dizziness : When you're liquid-deprived the blood becomes more concentrated, which causes inflammatory proteins circulating in the blood to irritate nerves surrounding the brain. As your body temperature increases, the blood vessels in your brain to dilate leading to a dizzy spell &/or headache. Dehydration causes changes in electrolyte balances in the blood, which directly affect parts of the mind responsible for reasoning. Changes in electrolyte levels can alter brain levels of serotonin, which influences mood.
To prevent dehydration make sure to drink your water and for extra protection drink Smart Water with Electrolytes or add a small amount of Willard Water Dark or Electrolyte packets ( Trace Minerals Research) to your water to replenish the minerals that get lost and to keep your body in balance.
So have fun in the sun this summer but do it safely and take preventative measures so it stays fun!
Jane Jansen Holistic Practitioner Tree of Life Wellness Center 508-336-4242
Host of Holistic Healthline Radio.