BIG RAPIDS – Summer is back and many Michiganders will spending their time enjoying the sun, but working and playing outdoors brings the increased risk of dehydration, heat exhaustion and sunstroke.

Beating the heat during the summer takes a little preparation and the ability to recognize symptoms of heat exhaustion, which can include dizziness, headache, pale skin, profuse sweating and rapid heartbeat.

Dehydration and sunstroke are emergencies that can include hot, dry and red skin without any sweat despite being overly hot in addition to dizziness, headache and rapid heartbeat.

“The best thing to do when you start to feel symptoms is to get out of the sun,” said Naomi Boglarsky, a registered nurse for Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital Family Medicine Center. “Get into a cool, shady area or into air conditioning to cool off.”

Staying hydrated is very important, especially for the elderly and children, she said. Drinking plenty of water or a sports drink to replace lost electrolytes from sweating is critical when working outside or in places without air conditioning, she added.

“Avoid alcohol, caffeine and drinks high in sugar because these drinks can lead to dehydration, also,” Boglarsky said.

Applying ice can help the body to cool off when experiencing symptoms of heat exhaustion. Keep the ice from direct contact with skin by using a towel because the cold can damage the skin in a short time.

“Don’t allow the person who’s applying ice to start shivering because this is the body’s way of increasing body heat. It’s counterproductive,” Boglarsky said.

Wearing light and breathable clothes while exercising and adjusting your workout schedule depending on the heat for the day are some other strategies recommended by Spectrum Health.

“Avoid getting sunburned, as this can raise your temperature,” Boglarsky said. “Wearing sun block, a wide-brimmed hat and staying in the shade from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. are the best ways to avoid sunburn.”

When preparing to travel, let the heat out of the car before getting in and let the air conditioning run for a few minutes after starting the engine, said Boglarsky.