A Summer Heat Reminder

Cooling towels can really help 

I had planned to write about something different today, but then I learned of several people who have passed out or nearly passed out at Walt Disney World recently. Summer is here, which means higher heat and humidity. With the temperature getting to people, I decided instead to write a reminder about the summer heat.

I don’t care what you’re used to at home, the sun and the temperature in Florida during the summer months can be brutal! It is even worse in the middle of the day if you’re standing in a line with little shade. There are fans in many queues, but they provide only temporary bliss.

I’m affected by heat. I passed out once (not in Florida) and have the scars to prove it. I’ve also come close a few times. I am not offering medical advice or diagnosing any condition. I’m just trying to give a few tips.

The most important thing that you can do at this time of year is to drink a lot of water. You can get free cups at any quick service location that sells fountain drinks. Just ask. They will often give you a small cup, so ask for two. You do not need to be thirsty to be dehydrated.

Loose fitting clothes are also a good idea. Light colored clothes are cooler, but dark colors hide the inevitable sweat. Any skin that shows needs to be covered with sunscreen, even if you don’t normally burn.

Cooling towels can make a difference. If you didn’t pack one, they aren’t overly expensive in the Walt Disney World gift shops. A neck fan is also not a bad idea. If you have long hair like I do, buy a fan that won’t get tangled in your hair.

If someone in your party feels nauseous, lightheaded, or dizzy, don’t try to prop them up. Instead, get them to sit down and put their head between their knees. Even better, lie them on the ground. When I passed out from heat it was because the blood pressure in my neck dropped. Propping someone up is only going to make matters worse.

It’s not a bad idea to get someone water or a drink such as Powerade if the heat is getting to them. Soda and/or alcohol are not a good idea. If possible, don’t give them a beverage that is too cold. The body needs to regulate its temperature slowly, and a drink that is too cold could make matters worse.

Take breaks in the AC on hot summer days. Catch a show, ride an indoor ride, or browse in a shop or two. Plan an indoor lunch during the heat of the day. If your schedule allows it, spend the morning in a theme park, take a midday break, and then head back after the daily afternoon storm. There will be a short storm most afternoons in the summer. They bring thunder and a lot of rain, but are usually over quickly.

Speaking of the daily storms, they are both a blessing and a curse. The storms keep the air temperature down several degrees, a day without a storm will see the temperature soar even higher! The afternoon storms also make the humidity go way up. An hour or so after the rain stops, the air is often so thick that you can feel it. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, visit Walt Disney World an hour after a storm.

If you or anyone in your party is feeling off, find the nearest Cast Member. If they aren’t medically trained, they will contact someone who can help. There are also First Aid stations in all four Walt Disney World theme parks. Sometimes sitting or lying down in the air conditioning for a few minutes will make a huge difference.

You know when something feels off. The day I passed out I had warning signs. At first I felt nauseous, then dizzy, then things went black. The next thing I knew, I was surrounded by people who wanted to know if I was alright. I was and I wasn’t. When I fell, my ankle twisted and it broke in three places. I had to have it surgically repaired, and I have a small hardware store in there now. I still have twinges of pain from time to time, although I worked hard in PT and all these years later it’s stronger than before I broke it. Emotionally, though, something changed within me that day. My body failed me on a level that I had never experienced before. I’m now more careful, and I look for the signs. I hope you will pay attention to your own signs if you visit Walt Disney World on a hot, humid day.