Summer Heat is No Day at the Beach
Information from the Virginia Department of Health

Summer temperatures in Virginia normally climb into the upper 90’s and even reach over 100 degrees at times. 
People can suffer ill health effects when their body temperature control system is on overload. A person’s body temperature can shoot up when normal sweating cannot cool it quickly enough in extreme heat. Damage to the brain or other vital organs can result from very high body temperatures.

Summer sun can also present a health challenge. Recent research indicates that among Virginia adults, the number of deaths from and new cases of melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer, have increased even as more adults report using sunscreen. This suggests that some people may not take proper measures to protect themselves from skin cancer. 

While you enjoy the outdoors this summer, remember to use sunscreen, seek shade, and wear sunglasses, a hat, and sun-protective clothing. Use a sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor, or SPF, of 15 or higher. As sunscreen wears off, reapply if you stay out in the sun for more than 2 hours and after you swim or do things that make you sweat.


Heat Stroke: 
When the body cannot control its temperature anymore because of high external temperatures, the internal temperature rises quickly, sweating stops and the body is unable to cool down. Body temperatures can go as high as 106 degrees in 15 minutes. Death or permanent disability can result without emergency treatment.

Heat Exhaustion
When the body loses too much water and salt from sweating due to the high external temperature, heat exhaustion can result.

Heat Cramps
When people sweat profusely during physical activity, painful muscle cramps can result as the body depletes its salt and fluid. Muscle cramps in the stomach, legs or arms are symptoms. If they occur 
during swimming, the results can be dangerous. 
Drink Plenty of Fluids
Drink 2-4 glasses of cool fluids each hour.

Keep Cool Indoors
If you can, stay in an air-conditioned area. If you don’t have air-conditioning, contact your local health department to see if there are heat-relief shelters near you.

For this and additional information on excessive heat preparedness, click on the following links below:

Virginia Department of Health Offers Tips for Recreational Water Use
Prevent Illness and Injury this Summer

News release date: 5/18/15:
For more information contact: Michelle Stoll, Public Information Officer (804) 864-7963 /

(Richmond, VA) The weekend before Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer and the beginning of visits to swimming pools, water parks, lakes and local beaches. 
As warm days arrive the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) reminds Virginians to take precautions to keep you and your family healthy and safe while enjoying the water this summer.

“Children are especially vulnerable to illness and injury in and around recreational water,” said State Health Commissioner Marissa J. Levine, MD, MPH, FAAFP.
 “In large part, this information is being provided specifically for parents of young children to raise their awareness and assist them in their efforts to keep their children healthy and safe all summer long. ”

Although drowning and swimming-related injuries are often preventable, 
deaths still occur each year and the consequences of injury leave people struggling with memory problems, learning disabilities and permanent loss of basic functioning. 
VDH provides the following recommendations to reduce the risk of drowning and injuries:
              • Teach children to swim. Participation in formal swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning, especially among children 1 to 4 years of age. 
              •  Never leave a child alone near a body of water and always designate a responsible adult to watch children swimming or playing in or around the water. 
              • Learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Performing CPR can save a life while paramedics are on their way. 
              • Be sure to wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets when boating, regardless of the distance you are traveling, the size of the boat or how well the boaters can swim. 
              • Use the buddy system during all recreational water activities and always be aware of local weather conditions, dangerous waves and rip currents. 

Recreational water use can sometimes cause certain illnesses. 
These illnesses are caused by germs that are spread by swallowing, breathing in mists, or having contact with contaminated water in 
swimming pools, hot tubs, water play areas, interactive fountains, lakes, rivers or oceans.  The most common illnesses are gastrointestinal and may include symptoms such as nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. 
Other illnesses associated with recreational water can cause eye, skin, ear, respiratory, neurologic and wound infections. 

To prevent illnesses, VDH suggests the following: 
              • Avoid getting water in your mouth, and especially do not swallow it. 
              • Don’t swim when you are ill. You can spread germs in the water and make other people sick. 
              • Avoid water shooting up your nose, especially in lakes during the summer where water is shallow or stagnant. 
              • Look for swimming advisory signs before entering the water. Coastal public beaches in Virginia are monitored for bacteria. Signs may indicate that water is unsafe for recreational activity.
              • Avoid swimming in natural waters for a few days after a heavy rain. 
              • Do not swim in natural waters if you have a cut or open wound. 
              • Make sure your children have bathroom breaks and check diapers often. Waiting to hear “I have to go” might be too late. 
              • Wash with soap before and after swimming. You can spread germs in the water and get others sick. 
For more information about recreational water safety, visit