Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

The heat is on: How to enjoy Alabama summers safely


Summer is in full swing, and that means longer days, lighter nights and a host of outdoor activities for everyone to enjoy. It also spells the return of the notorious southern heat, which Tuscaloosa has already begun to experience.

Poor heat management can lead to illness and even death. Whether hiking, running, barbecuing or simply walking around town, it is always imperative to take the proper precautions to ensure your health and safety.


Most people know how important it is to stay hydrated, but extreme heat changes the body’s requirements. Consider these tips when you wet your whistle this summer.

  • Hydration is not achieved by drinking sugary or alcoholic fluids. Be sure to mix up your drinking habits to incorporate more water regardless of your activity level. The U.S. Center for Disease Control website recommends two to four glasses per hour during exercise.
  • When you sweat your body loses electrolytes, which are important in many of the body’s regulation processes and muscular functions, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Sports drinks can help replenish depleted electrolytes — but be wary of their sugar content.
  • As a rule when going out, bring more water than you think you need.


Hot temperatures put you at risk of heat stroke, exhaustion and dehydration, among other conditions. However, heat-related illnesses are preventable. The tips below are just some of the things you can do to be safe in the southern heat.

  • When planning outdoor activities, consider doing them in the morning or at night, as these are the coolest and least humid parts of the day.
  • Protect yourself from the sun by wearing sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher, and look for products labeled “broad spectrum” that advertise protection from both UVA and UVB rays. Reapply sunscreen every two hours.
  • Lastly, have fun with it. Staying cool shouldn’t be a chore. “Incorporating water during midday activities also helps those especially hot days,” said Melissa Mathews, lifetime Alabama resident and a sophomore majoring in chemical engineering. “For example, I went up to Little River Canyon two weeks ago in North Alabama. It was super hot, so we hiked along a ridge to a swimming hole where you could jump off of cliffs into the water and boulder around the sides of the swimming hole.”

If you or someone you know is feeling ill due to excessive heat:

RJ Thompson, Lance Corporal in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves and current UA student majoring criminal justice, stresses the importance of immediate action in cases of potential heat stroke or exhaustion.

“If someone is dangerously overheated, put them in shade, loosen all clothing, take their shoes or boots off,” he said. “Pour water or put ice in the most important areas: back of your neck, armpits and groin area. I know this works. I have personally seen and done this to save marines in training who came close to death of heat injuries.”

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