When temperatures start to rise, the danger for heat-related illnesses is very real and can happen very quickly. Your body may not be able to stay cool enough and that may lead to a variety of heat related issues.
Older adults, young children, and people with mental illness and chronic diseases are at highest risk for heat-related illness. But even young and healthy individuals can suffer in heat if they participate in strenuous physical activities during hot weather.
You can protect yourself and loved ones against very hot temperatures by following these recommendations:
- Spend more time in air conditioned places. If you don't have air conditioning, consider visiting a mall, movie theater, library or other cool public places.
- Cover windows that receive morning or afternoon sun.
- Dress in lightweight clothing.
- Take a cool shower or bath, or place cool washcloths on your skin.
- Have a beverage with you at all times, and sip or drink frequently. Don't wait until you're thirsty to drink.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Avoid drinks with caffeine, alcohol and large amounts of sugar because they can actually de-hydrate your body.
- Limit the time you're in direct sunlight.
- NEVER LEAVE CHILDREN OR PETS IN VEHICLES! Even with the windows cracked, heat inside vehicles can climb very rapidly putting children and animals at a higher risk of illness or death from the heat.
- Avoid or reduce doing activities that are tiring, or take a lot of energy.
- Do outdoor activities in the cooler morning and evening hours.
- Avoid sunburn. Use a sunscreen lotion with a high SPF (sun protection factor) rating.
- Check up on your elderly neighbors and relatives regularly.
- Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing;
- Know the warning signs of heat-related illness:
- Extremely high body temperature (above 103°F)
- Weakness, dizziness, or fainting
- Unusually elevated heart rate
- Fast and shallow breathing
- Nausea or vomiting
- Muscle cramps
- Check your local news for heat warnings and safety tips
- Check on your friends, family and neighbors that may be vulnerable to heat related dangers frequently