With summer almost here it's worth looking at ways to keep cool on a bushwalk and how to avoid heat-related illness.
Start your hike early Not everyone likes to wake up early, and your trip doesn’t have to feel like work; just find a balance between how much sleep you need and minimising your exposure to afternoon heat. Get organised in camp with gear to facilitate a quicker morning departure – eating breakfast and packing up doesn’t have to take two hours.
Cover up The more of your body you can shield from the sun, the happier you’ll be. Loose-fitting long sleeves and pants paired with a wide-brimmed hat will do wonders on a summer hike. Remember to shield your eyes with some UV-blocking sunnies and lather that sunscreen on every exposed part of your body – especially if you’re hiking at altitude. The sun is stronger up there and you’ll get burned faster.
Keep yourself hydrated If you are hiking during summer, physical exertion and hot, dry conditions can cause you to become dehydrated very quickly. The easiest way to combat dehydration is to drink fluids before, during and after any adventure.
Learnt to identify heat exhaustion When the body temperature increases and is unable to cool itself properly heat exhaustion can occur. Heat exhaustion can be easily treated as long as the symptoms are noticed early and treatment administered as soon as the symptoms begin. Symptoms of heat exhaustion: headache, nausea, muscle cramps, moist skin with goose bumps when in the heat, heavy sweating, faintness, dizziness, fatigue and possibly a weak, rapid pulse.
Rest often Remember that most hikes are not races. While you’re eating those snacks and sipping that water find some time to sit down in the shade. Get wet to cool off if you’re getting hot. Unwind. Relax and take the time to observe and appreciate the natural beauty around you. And if you are feeling fatigued don’t be afraid to tell others in your group. Speaking up might just save your life.