Warm weather and sunny days beckon the RVer in each of us to get out on the road and start enjoying summer travel. However, while we all might be happy to see the temperature on the rise, this also means the risk for heat exhaustion or heat stroke is increasing as well – and it will only get worse as we move into the hottest months of the year.
If your summer RV travels will have you trekking through some of the hotter areas of the country, it is important to know the symptoms to watch for and the steps to take to prevent heat-related problems that can ruin your trip and threaten your health.
Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion:
• Excessive sweating
• Muscle cramps
• Shallow, fast breathing
• Cold, clammy skin
• Rapid, weak pulse
Symptoms of Heat Stroke:
• High fever
• Dry, warm skin
• Lack of sweat
• Rapid, strong pulse
According to the American Heart Association (www.heart.org), anyone experiencing the symptoms of heat exhaustion should stop activities, move to a cool location, cool off with cold water and rehydrate. It may also be a good idea to seek medical attention at this point. Those who are experiencing the symptoms of heat stroke need to seek medical help immediately.
No one wants to experience the disturbing symptoms or the potential effects of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. In order to reduce your risk while traveling in hot weather, it is important to stay hydrated, stay inside as much as you can on hotter days, wear well-ventilated shoes and clothing, and be careful about the amount of physical activity in which you partake.
Even if you are used to running five miles each day back home, you should not expect to be able to take on that same level of activity in areas where the weather if hotter or humidity is higher. If you do plan to take part in outdoor physical activities, try to avoid doing them in the early afternoon when the sun is the hottest. The best time to take a walk, hike, go jogging or do other activities that involve physical exertion is earlier in the morning or later in the evening when temperatures will be a bit lower. Make sure you stay hydrated before, during and after the activity, and also make sure to take plenty of breaks to allow your body to cool down.
Finally, keep in mind that sugary, caffeinated and alcoholic beverages can increase dehydration; therefore, it is best to limit consumption on hot days or avoid them completely.