Cougar Ridge

The Signs of Heatstroke and How to Hike Safely in the Summer

Jun 29, 2023 | Activities & Adventure, Capitol Reef National Park, National Parks, Our Blog, Things to do in Utah | 0 comments

It’s no secret that the most popular time of year to visit Utah’s Mighty 5 national parks is the summer. Schools are out, and many families save their big vacation for this time of year. The days are longer. There’s no snow to worry about, and the rain and occasional flooding that occurs in the spring has passed. And many businesses, like restaurants, stores, and tour companies, are open later and offer a wider variety of options this time of year.

However, one downside of visiting the best Capitol Reef resort Utah has to offer during the summer months is that temperatures are often high. 

Luckily, there’s no shortage of ways to cool off during your stay at Cougar Ridge. You could book an off-road tour, go fishing on the Fremont River, or take a dip in our brand-new pool. It’s also still possible to enjoy some hiking during your time in Capitol Reef National Park. But if you plan to hit the trails, it’s important to make sure that you’re ready for the temperatures.

Understanding the signs of heat stroke and how to prevent it can help you enjoy a safe, fun hike during your summer visit to the best Capitol Reef resort Utah has to offer. Keep reading to learn the signs to watch for, and how to hike safely this summer.

Early Signs of Dehydration and Heatstroke

Spotting the early signs of dehydration can allow you to get hydrated before your symptoms get worse or progress to heatstroke.

A Headache Will Develop

The first sign that heatstroke victims often notice is a throbbing headache. This symptom occurs as a result of dehydration—your body is trying to let you know that it doesn’t have enough water to cool itself down. Without enough fluids, your brain can actually begin to shrink. This causes the often swift and severe headache that you’ll feel. The longer you go without cooling off and rehydrating, the worse the headache will get.

When you’re taking on a difficult trail, it’s easy to overlook a headache. You’re tired, you might be hungry, and you’re putting your body through a lot. Maybe you’ve been packing in as many activities as possible at the best Capitol Reef resort Utah has to offer, and haven’t gotten as much sleep as you do at home. When you’re on vacation, it’s common for your diet to change, too. All of these details could explain a headache.

But if a headache strikes while hiking on a warm day, ask yourself whether you’re drinking enough water. Generally, hikers need around a half liter of water for every hour of hiking. However, that’s assuming a trail that’s moderately difficult on an average temperature day. If the temps are climbing, the trail is difficult, or there’s little shade, you’ll likely need more than that. 

You’ll Feel Dizzy

Often occurring in conjunction with headaches, another early sign of both dehydration and heatstroke is dizziness or light-headedness. Once again, your brain isn’t getting the fluids that it needs to continue functioning properly. As a result, you might suddenly find yourself wavering or stumbling. 

If you are only mildly dehydrated, this symptom will be most noticeable when you’re standing up. Hydrate and rest for a bit to give your body a chance to cool, and this symptom will likely go away. Don’t hydrate, and this symptom will become worse. 

You’ll Stop Sweating

When you’re walking among the towering rock giants at Goblin Valley State Park or hiking the Waterpocket Fold in Capitol Reef, you’re certain to work up a sweat. Some interesting Canyonlands and Arches National Park facts are that both parks see triple-digit temperatures more frequently than Utah’s other national parks. Capitol Reef does get hot during the summer but often has milder days throughout the season. But even on those days, you’re likely to sweat while hiking or enjoying the outdoors.

So if you suddenly notice that you’ve stopped sweating, take it as a sign that something is wrong.

Sweat serves an important purpose for our bodies. It’s one of several ways that our bodies release heat. As the sweat evaporates off of our skin, it takes some of our heat with it. When you are dehydrated, your body won’t have enough fluids to keep producing that sweat. Your body can’t sweat, which means that it can’t cool itself down. Therefore your body heats up more and continues to be unable to do anything about it.

Signs of Severe Dehydration and Heatstroke

If you notice a headache coming on or begin to feel dizzy, sitting down in the shade and drinking some water is often enough to put a stop to them. You might still consider heading off the trail and back to the best hotels Torrey Utah has to offer to relax and cool yourself down. But you’re unlikely to need to visit a hospital or seek additional care.

However, if you ignore these signs or don’t get help quickly, your symptoms may quickly worsen. Some later signs of advanced dehydration and heatstroke include:

  • Skin becomes red and hot to the touch
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Confusion

One of the scariest symptoms of heatstroke is a seizure. When this occurs, it means that the body has begun shutting down and you need medical care right away. Noticing the earlier symptoms of heatstroke and cooling off, rehydrating, and seeking medical care can help you avoid a serious medical emergency.

Planning a Safe Stay at the Best Capitol Reef Resort Utah Has to Offer

If you’re planning to do some hiking during your summer stay at the best Capitol Reef resort Utah has to offer, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the signs and symptoms of dehydration and heatstroke. Make sure to watch for them not just in yourself, but in your hiking partners as well. If someone is exhibiting one or more of these signs, get them cooled off and rehydrated, and seek medical attention if the symptoms don’t let up.

By knowing the signs and being prepared, you can enjoy a safe, fun hike during your Cougar Ridge stay no matter the time of year. Ready to start planning your next adventure? Book your stay at one of the best hotels Torrey Utah has to offer today!

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