Surviving the summer sun while visiting Disney

by: Deb Wills\/AllEars.net Updated:

You can get painful sunburn even on a cloudy day, so slather on the sunscreen every morning before you start out.

Summer will soon be here and that means the heat and humidity will be back in full force.

It is vitally important to stay hydrated and protected from the sun while visiting Walt Disney World.  For those who live in Florida, it becomes commonplace, but we all can use a refresher now and then so listen up!  The deadly duo of high temps/high humidity can lead to a number of heat-related illnesses that occur when your body becomes unable to cool itself off.

My Number 1 Tip to Summer Sun Survival

LISTEN TO YOUR BODY! – The signs start slow at first.  Sometimes crankiness sets in along with fatigue.   Maybe you aren’t picking your feet or are beginning to sway from side to side as you walk.  Signs of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness or weakness, dizziness or headache, a "sick stomach" feeling or vomiting, and faintness. Untreated, the much more serious heatstroke can come quickly on the heels of heat exhaustion.

Once the signs of heat-related illness begin to show, you can progress from "not feeling so good" to "feeling really bad" very quickly. Listen to your body. Do not ignore the warning signs!  Remember each park has a First Aid station if you need it!

My Number 2 Tip to Summer Sun Survival

HYDRATE - Water is the key ingredient for keeping your cool. When the humidity is high, sweat will not evaporate as quickly, which prevents the body from releasing heat in an efficient manner. That’s why you MUST hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! And don’t think because you are young or in great health that this does not apply to you – it does!

Remember to drink even when you are not thirsty. In fact, if you wait until you’re thirsty, you’ve waited too long.

As you continue to hydrate be smart about the fluids you drink.  Water and “sports” drinks with electrolytes are important.  Stay away from fluids that will dehydrate you, like alcohol and caffeine!

My Number 3 Tip to Summer Sun Survival

PROTECT YOURSELF - Wear a wide-brimmed hat (this also keeps you cooler) and sunglasses.

Use sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher (the most effective products say "broad spectrum" or "UVA/UVB protection" on their labels). You can get painful sunburn even on a cloudy day, so slather on the sunscreen every morning before you start out. Don't forget lips, ears, back of neck.

Wear light clothing. If you have clothing that contains Coolmax or similar products wear that. Items made of 100 percent cotton do NOT wick moisture away from your body.

Limit strenuous exercise. And yes, that includes walking around the theme parks. If you can, take a pool break or at least go into air conditioning and out of the sun for a while.

Walking around in the heat and humidity can make all parts of your body sweat, and that includes your poor feet. When feet are wet, blisters can develop, so try to wear socks that are not 100 percent cotton. If you feel a hot spot developing, find a place in the shade to sit down. Take off your shoe and sock and inspect your feet. Put a bandage on the tender area, and let your feet dry. Dry feet are happy feet! If you get bad blisters, go to the First Aid Station (there's one located in each of the parks).

Important:  I am not a health care professional and share a few things that have worked for me.  Always consult with your health care professional for medical advice.

Deb Wills is the founder and webmaster of AllEars.net (established January 1996) and publishes the AllEars® weekly e-newsletter.   Deb is internationally recognized as an expert on Disney Vacations ranging from Walt Disney World to the Disney Cruise Line and to Disneyland. A veteran of countless trips to Walt Disney World and Disneyland, Deb also set sail on over 30 cruises.  Deb actively participates in events designed to raise funds and awareness in the fight against Breast Cancer, of which she herself is a survivor in 1986. Deb has volunteered in 13 Avon Breast Cancer Walks (both as a walker and a crew member) for which she has raised over $401,000 since 2001.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Deb Wills is the founder and webmaster of AllEars.Net (established January 1996), which also publishes the AllEars weekly e-newsletter. A veteran of numerous trips to Walt Disney World and Disneyland, Deb is an internationally recognized expert on these vacation destinations, as well as on the Disney Cruise Line. Deb actively participates in events designed to raise funds and awareness in the fight against Breast Cancer, of which she herself is a 25-year survivor. In addition to sponsoring Team AllEars, which participates in runDisney events while generating funds for this cause, Deb has participated in 11 Avon Breast Cancer Walks (both as a walker and a crew member), and has raised more than $325,000 since 2001.  Follow Deb on Twitter at @allearsdeb.