Travel to Hot Climates
Planning your next trip to a tropical climate like in the Caribbean? Pack your swimsuit and sunscreen, and follow these tips to prevent heat illness and injury when traveling in a hot climate.
It's winter time across the United States, and many travelers are looking to vacation in tropical areas to escape the cold temperatures at home. But traveling in hot climates can make you sick, especially if you are not accustomed to the heat. For most travelers who choose to relax on the beach or by the pool, heat illness and injury pose only a slight risk. However, people at highest risk are the elderly, young children, and people with chronic illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes. But even young and healthy people can get sick from heat if they participate in strenuous physical activities during hot weather. Dehydration, for example, makes people most susceptible to heat illness.
When you are not in an air-conditioned building, take these steps to prevent heat-related illnesses, injuries, and deaths when traveling in hot climates:
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing and sunscreen.
- Try to schedule outdoor activities during cooler parts of the day.
- Rest often, and try to stay in the shade when outdoors.
- If you will be doing strenuous activities in the heat, try to get adjusted before you leave by exercising 1 hour per day in the heat.
Overheating can result in heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Symptoms include excessive thirst, profuse sweating, headache, dizziness or confusion, and nausea. If you or anyone you are traveling with develops these symptoms, get out of the sun and try to cool off by fanning or getting in the water. Heat stroke is a life-threatening medical emergency; get medical attention if symptoms persist.
Don't let the thought of traveling in hot weather make you sweat, but if you do, keep a water bottle nearby. Prepare for the heat with proper clothing, knowledge, and equipment. Investigating your destination's climate before you arrive will help you enjoy more fun in the sun.