There’s no question; summer has arrived in Panama City Beach. After seeing huge crowds for Independence Day, lifeguards are reporting that they’ve had a few instances of heat-related emergencies on the beach already. We talked about this before, quickly, but given that temperatures are high, let’s talk about how to stay cool and safe, even as the temperature increases.

Stay hydrated

Your primary protection against heat stroke or heat exhaustion is to drink plenty of fluids. Water is ideal, but if you don’t like the taste of plain water, drinks with some sugar and electrolytes are good alternatives. The important thing is to get those fluids. Alcohol in particular is not a good idea whenever you’re trying to avoid dehydration; it takes so much water to process alcohol out of your body that you end up with a net fluid loss.

Eat light foods

It’s a good idea to make sure you eat well if you’re going to be out in the sun. Light foods like cut up vegetables, a handful of healthy chips, or a light salad are good ideas if you’re not feeling well. Fruits in particular tend to have a lot of water content, so they can help you stay well hydrated. Typical barbecue fare may be too heavy if you’re already feeling unwell, but is probably fine if you feel good. Relaxing for a little while in the shade can help you digest well and avoid feeling sick.

Take breaks out of the sun

We know how much fun it is to play in the sun, but your body needs breaks to cool down. If you’re looking to keep the fun happening, talk to us about different adventures that can keep you cool, like snorkeling, parasailing, or going for a WaveRunner ride.

If you’re looking to kick back and relax for a little while, consider renting one of our lounge chairs, and asking us to set it up so that you can get some shade. We know that cooling off is important, and we want you to feel well so you can get back to having fun.

Know the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke

Of course, one of the crucial pieces here is knowing what’s going on. If you feel overheated, but have stopped sweating, are nauseated and vomiting, have a painful headache, or are shivering despite feeling warm to the touch, you may have crossed from heat exhaustion into heat stroke. Heat stroke is a very serious condition, and you should get medical attention in order to stay safe.

If you’re on the beach and start experiencing these symptoms, let a lifeguard know; they’re trained to help you, just like they have helped other visitors stay healthy this summer.

Cool your body down with water, ice, or air conditioning

If you are too warm, obviously, one of the keys is to cool your body down. Getting into the ocean water can be helpful, but depending on how you’re feeling, it may not be enough. Another option is to place cool items, such as ice packs, cool wash cloths, or cold drink bottles, at your pulse points – on your belly, at your ankles, wrists, and the back of your neck. Since these are places where your blood runs close to your skin, they cool your body down efficiently.

Get medical help if needed

If you are concerned that you might need medical help to treat your heat exhaustion, do not hesitate. A person with heat stroke can very quickly go from tired but okay to disoriented and very, very sick. If you are with someone who has been in the heat, and they begin to seem disoriented, the safest thing is to assume heat stroke and get help.

It just might save their life.

Beach vacations are a tremendous amount of fun, but part of the fun is making sure to stay safe. By keeping hydrated, taking breaks to let your body cool off, and acting quickly if you or someone you’re with becomes ill from the sun will keep your vacation a great memory and not a terrible tragedy.