Monday, June 23, 2014

Summer Heat Safety

Saturday, June 21, 2014 was the first day of summer here in the U.S. Here in the Baltimore area, we have already had a couple of days of high heat and humidity with the accompanying heat and air quality warnings. This small heat wave has reminded me to be prepared for the summer weather, especially during my outdoor mid-Atlantic adventures. 

Harpers Ferry looking down on the Shenandoah
Approximately two summers ago, I wanted my son to see Harpers Ferry, WV. It was an extremely hot day, perhaps the hottest that year, but we still went.  He had been assigned to this area for a few years and I wanted him to see some of my favorite places before he moved away. 

Harpers Ferry is a historic town tucked in where the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers meet.  As we walked from the bottom area, near the train station parking lot, up the steep, old stone stairs, I began to feel weak.  My son and the Mister were still just marching along in their way. It is typical that I bring up the rear but this time was different.  I started to need extra rest breaks.  I started to feel light-headed and woozy.

My son took over.  He kept instructing me on things such as take a sip of water, sit down, take another sip of water, head down, drink more water, and all the while he was dribbling water on my head. At least I think that he was.  Maybe it was the Mister. Or maybe they were telling me to do it.  It’s all a little foggy.

Wow. I felt horrible. I felt cold and hot at the same time, my vision was funny, I felt nauseous, and I felt as though I would faint. At some point I felt hot and did not feel like I was sweating as much.  I was not familiar with these signs. My son was.  Thank goodness. I am familiar with the signs now and I take the heat seriously.

Please learn the signs of heat sickness, it may save your life. The CDC gives us great information about symptoms and treatment. 

With their close attention, time sitting in the shade, water on me and in me, I began to feel better enough to walk back to the bottom. We got into the Jeep and ran the air conditioner.  I quickly felt much improved.

Even if you are experienced with outdoor adventures, are aware of the signs of heat exhaustion, and typically are prepared you can still become overcome by the heat.  Off Grid Survival gives us a clear example of a seasoned hiker who could have had a tragic outcome when hiking on a hot day. Thank goodness he was found and successfully treated. 

I have considering purchasing a hydration pack (basically a water bottle that you carry on your back like a backpack) but I’m pretty fussy about my water tasting like rubber or plastic.  Squidoo writer nextyear reviews a camelbak pack that does not taste rubbery.

Ramkitten teaches us how to hike in the oven-hot heat of the GrandCanyon.  I am fairly certain if I follow her tips for Arizona in the summer, I should be fine in the Mid-Atlantic heat.

Finally, for those of us who take our furry family members with us on the trails or other outdoor activities in the summer heat, Ruthi reminds us how to keep our dogs safe in the summer heat. 

Summer is here.  Let’s be safe and have fun.

Image Credit: Image is mine ©Dawn Rae – All Rights Reserved 

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


  1. Thank you, Dawn, for this most important information! Especially when so many people will be traveling to unfamiliar areas for their vacations. I've lived in the tropics for many years and I see always tourists spend too much time in the sun. Before they know it, they have a sunburn that sends them to the hospital. I'm glad your son knew how to take care of you! Great post!

  2. Oh my, thank goodness you were not alone and your son knew you needed to cool your body off and rest. You really could have had a heat stroke!

    Thanks ever so much for including how to keep our dogs safe in the heat, too! Now following your lead to read what others have to say on the topic of beating the heat. Thanks for sharing their info too!

  3. Weekend athletes need to read this information as well. Summer heat is a force to be reckoned with. Glad you shared all of this as a reminder to us all.

  4. Excellent and timely information. Thanks for a great post.

  5. It is definitely wise to read the safety tips and be prepared before you take on the summer heat! Just working in the yard can get dangerous pretty quickly, but when you are actually on a trip or hike you simply might not be close to help. Truly best to be prepared. Awesome reminder and definitely timely :)

  6. I'm very thankful you had help during this scary heat-related incident. Such an important topic. I do use a water reservoir when hiking, camping, and biking. Just squeeze a little lemon or lime juice in your water. That should take care of the taste concern. You have featured some excellent writers here. Be safe out there on the trails!

  7. Very helpful and informative article. I experienced the beginnings of heat exhaustion just last week in St. Louis while visiting my daughter. We were given tickets to a St. Louis Cardinals baseball game held in the afternoon. The team is my favorite... and I love baseball.... and the seats were fantastic (14th row up from the Cardinals' dugout), but located in the direct sun with no clouds on a 93 degree June day. By the end of the 3rd inning, I was suddenly feeling very hot and walked up under the upper section roof out of the sun. While standing there I began to feel dizzy and somewhat nauseous. I was drinking water and my daughter got me a cup of ice and after a bit I felt better. The stadium gave out free cups of ice all afternoon and, besides taking 'shade breaks', we used the ice and wet paper towels to keep our heads, necks and arms cool. Being at a live baseball game in person was a ball (pun intended), but we didn't realize just how hot it would become. Once a small cloud blocked the direct sun for a few minutes... and our whole section 'cheered' for the cloud! :)


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