Stay Cool and Healthy This Summer: Tips for Beating the Heat – Part One

by | May 13, 2024 | Health Tips

As summer approaches, bringing longer days and rising temperatures, it’s essential to prepare for the heat to enjoy the season safely and healthily. At Access HealthCare, we’re committed to helping you stay well. That’s why we’ve organized our top summer health tips into a two-part blog series. In today’s post, we’ll cover “Staying Hydrated and Protected in the Summer Heat”—key strategies for maintaining hydration and ensuring effective sun protection. Stay tuned for our upcoming post on managing heat-related stress and making the most of seasonal offerings.

Prioritize Hydration

Hydration is paramount during the hot summer months, a time when your body tends to lose fluids at a much faster rate due to increased perspiration. Maintaining optimal hydration is essential not only for thermoregulation—helping your body maintain a healthy temperature—but also for ensuring that your muscles and joints function properly. While plain water is an excellent primary source of hydration, incorporating electrolyte-replenishing drinks can provide additional benefits.


Water is the cornerstone of proper hydration, essential for every function in the body. It should always be your primary source of hydration, especially during the warm summer months when the risk of dehydration increases. Drinking adequate water helps in digestion by forming stomach secretions, aids in nutrient absorption and assists in detoxifying your body through the elimination of waste products.

Water also plays a crucial role in regulating your body temperature; as you sweat, water evaporates from your skin, helping to cool you down. Additionally, sufficient hydration ensures that your organs, including your heart, liver and kidneys, function efficiently.

Keeping up with your water intake is vital for maintaining overall health and energy levels, and it’s particularly important to drink water before, during and after any summer activity to replace fluids lost through sweat.

Electrolyte Drinks

While plain water is an excellent primary source of hydration, incorporating electrolyte-replenishing drinks, such as Gatorade or Propel, can provide additional benefits. These beverages are particularly valuable during high-intensity activities, like running or cycling, or extended periods outdoors in the heat, like hiking or doing yardwork, as they help replenish lost minerals and keep your hydration levels balanced.

Electrolytes, including sodium, potassium and magnesium, are crucial for many bodily functions, such as muscle contractions and nerve signaling. Therefore, balancing water intake with electrolyte-rich drinks can enhance hydration effectiveness and prevent imbalances that could lead to fatigue, cramps or more severe heat-related illnesses.


While electrolyte drinks can be beneficial, they often contain sugars and additional calories that might not be necessary for everyone, particularly those engaged in less intense activities or who are monitoring their calorie intake. For those situations, water is usually sufficient. If choosing an electrolyte drink, opt for low-sugar versions to minimize unnecessary calorie consumption and avoid those that contain caffeine, especially close to bedtime, as they might disrupt your sleep.

Additionally, be wary of beverages that contain caffeine or alcohol, as both can have a diuretic effect, leading to increased urine production and potential dehydration. If you’re consuming caffeinated or alcoholic drinks in the heat, it’s important to counterbalance these with plenty of water or electrolyte-rich alternatives (but avoid those with caffeine).


For a natural electrolyte boost, consider coconut water or making a homemade electrolyte drink with water, lemon juice, a small amount of salt and a teaspoon of honey. These options provide electrolytes and hydration without added artificial colors or flavors.

By varying your hydration sources based on the day’s activities, you can ensure that your body remains adequately hydrated and energized throughout the summer.

Sun Protection is Essential

Protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays is crucial to prevent sunburn, premature aging and skin cancer.  By using the appropriate sunscreen and applying it generously and regularly, you can protect your skin from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays, while enjoying all the outdoor activities that summer has to offer.

Choosing the Right SPF

The SPF (Sun Protection Factor) indicates how well a sunscreen can protect skin from UVB rays, the kind of ultraviolet radiation that causes sunburn. Dermatologists generally recommend using a sunscreen with at least SPF 30, which blocks 97% of UVB rays. For prolonged outdoor activities, a sunscreen with an SPF of 50, which blocks about 98% of rays, may offer better protection. Remember, no sunscreen can block 100% of UVB rays, so reapplication is key.

Broad-Spectrum Sunscreen Protection

When selecting a sunscreen, it’s also crucial to choose one labeled ‘broad-spectrum.’ These products are formulated to protect against both UVA and UVB rays, each of which can harm the skin in different ways.

UVB rays are primarily responsible for sunburn and play a significant role in developing skin cancer. In contrast, UVA rays penetrate the skin more deeply, leading to premature aging by causing wrinkles and age spots, and they too contribute to skin cancer formation. Broad-spectrum sunscreens provide a comprehensive shield, preventing the long-term damage associated with UVA exposure as well as the more immediate effects of UVB.

Ensuring your sunscreen offers this dual protection is essential for maintaining healthy skin during prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light from the sun, especially during the summer months when UV radiation is at its peak.

Water-Resistant Options

If you’re planning on swimming or if you sweat a lot, use a water-resistant sunscreen. These types of sunscreens can maintain their SPF protection for a certain period of time while you are sweating or in the water. They typically come in two ratings: 40 minutes and 80 minutes of water resistance. Always remember to reapply sunscreen after swimming, sweating or towel drying, even when wearing sunscreen and even if the product is water-resistant.

Mineral vs. Chemical Sunscreens

Mineral sunscreens, containing active ingredients like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, sit on top of the skin to physically block UV rays. They start working immediately upon application. Chemical sunscreens, on the other hand, absorb UV radiation through their ingredients, converting it into heat and releasing it from the exposed skin. They usually require about 15 minutes to become effective after application.

Sensitive Skin Considerations

For those with sensitive skin, mineral sunscreens are often a better choice as they are less likely to cause skin irritation. Fragrance-free and hypoallergenic formulations can also be beneficial to avoid allergic reactions and skin sensitivities. 

In addition to sunscreen, wearing protective clothing, such as lightweight long-sleeved shirts and pants, can provide extra protection from the sun’s rays.  Seek shade whenever possible, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun’s UV rays are strongest.

Wrap Up

As you enjoy the warmer weather, remember these sun safety tips for maintaining hydration and protecting your skin are foundational to a healthy summer. By choosing the right hydration options and sun protection, you can safeguard your health while making the most of the hot, sunny days.

For more information or personalized care, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Access HealthCare.  Stay cool, stay hydrated and continue to enjoy all the joys that summer has to offer!

And keep an eye out for our next post, where we will delve into managing heat-related stress and embracing the best of seasonal offerings!