Overheating: How to Stay Safe in the Pioneer Day Sun

Pioneer Day. The day that Utah decides to recreate their 4th of July celebration all over again. However, it is also a day many of us will spend most of outside in the sun, which can be dangerous. While enjoying the Pioneer Day festivities, remember that high temperatures can affect the body not only when we are being active, but while we are still also (talking to you Days of 47 Parade-goers).

Heat-related illness can affect anyone, but especially young children, infants, older adults and people with medical conditions. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, from 1999 to 2003, more than 3,400 deaths were a result from extreme heart exposure.

So to be safe today, keep an eye out for the 5 phases of heat sickness:

  1. Heat Syncope is fainting as a result from overheating. Symptoms include faintness, dizziness, dry mouth, fatigue, headache and vomiting.
  2. Heat Cramps usually affect people who sweat a lot during vigorous activities. Excessive sweat leads to low salt levels in the body, which can bring on cramps. Symptoms include muscle pain or spasms in the hands, arms, legs or abdomen.
  3. Heat Edema is essentially swelling in the hands, lower legs and feet.
  4. Heat Exhaustion is the body’s response to loss of water and sweat. Symptoms include dizziness, excessive sweating, excessive thirst, fever, faintness, nausea, weakness and more.
  5. Heat Stroke is a medical emergency. Typically the body’s temperature is 104 degrees or higher. Symptoms include confusion, dizziness, hallucinations, throbbing headache and chills. Heat stroke can be life threatening and should be treated as an emergency.

Prevention is the key to a fun 24th without overheating. Make sure you are drinking plenty of water every hour, wearing sunscreen, and wearing appropriate clothing such as light materials and moisture-absorbing clothing.  Also, take a break between the parade and the fireworks and spend some time in-doors.

Happy Pioneer Day Utah!



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