Summer is the season when people love to be outside. But if you’re not careful, the summer heat can cause any number of serious health issues. Here are four ways to play it safe.

Avoid Sunburn
Just one serious case of sunburn increases the risk of skin cancer, the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States. There were more than two million cases of non-melanoma skin cancer in the United States each year. Excessive exposure to sunlight also causes age spots and wrinkles.

Unfortunately, about one-third of American adults experience some form of sunburn each year. So use plenty of sunscreen (30 SPF or higher) when you’re outside. If you don’t have sunscreen handy, cover up exposed skin. Wear a long-sleeved shirt and a hat. And remember that sunburn can occur on cloudy days, too.

Protect Your Eyes
Overexposure to sunlight can damage the eyes. Wear sunglasses that offer 99 – 100 percent UV (ultraviolet) protection. And be sure to teach your children to never look directly at the sun, which can cause eye damage.

Don’t Overdo It
Any combination of high temperatures, strenuous activity and not drinking enough water can cause heat exhaustion. Wearing too much clothing and drinking alcohol are also contributing factors. Heat stroke, a much more serious heat-related illness, can cause brain damage, even death. So whenever it’s hot outside, limit your physical activities, wear light clothing and drink plenty of water.

Signs of Heat Exhaustion

  • Confusion
  • Dark-colored urine (a sign of dehydration)
  • Dizziness and fainting
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea
  • Pale skin
  • Profuse sweating
  • Rapid heartbeat

Signs of Heat Stroke

  • Throbbing headache
  • Dizziness and light-headedness
  • Lack of sweating despite the heat
  • Red, hot, and dry skin
  • Muscle weakness or cramps
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Rapid heartbeat, which may be either strong or weak
  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Behavioral changes such as confusion, disorientation, or staggering
  • Seizures
  • Unconsciousness

Be Safe, Not Sorry
NEVER leave a child or a pet in a parked car. Temperatures inside a parked car can soar to a dangerous level in just a few minutes.

Source: American Cancer Society, WebMD