Beat the Heat

As temperatures soar this summer, remember the dangers from excessive heat. Even a short amount of time exposed to extreme heat and sun can lead to heat-related illness, with the very young and the elderly most vulnerable, and can result in a trip to the ER or even cause death if not properly treated.

Experts recommend keeping outdoor activities at a minimum during these times. It's also critically important to make sure children and pets are kept cool during this time of year - do not leave kids or pets in a car for any length of time.

Other steps for staying safe in the heat include: 

  • Dress for the heat. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing. Light colors will reflect away some of the sun's energy. It is also a good idea to wear hats or to use an umbrella.
  • Drink water. Carry water or juice with you and drink continuously even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid alcohol and caffeine, which dehydrate the body.
  • Eat small meals and eat more often.
  • Slow down. Avoid strenuous activity. If you must do strenuous activity, do it during the coolest part of the day, which is usually in the morning between 4:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m.
  • Stay indoors when possible.
  • Take regular breaks when engaged in physical activity on warm days. Take time out to find a cool place.
  • Learn the signs of heat-related illness, and what you should do.

Signs of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating; weakness; cold, pale and clammy skin; fast, weak pulse; nausea or vomiting and fainting. If you suspect you have heat exhaustion. Move to a cooler location, lie down and loosen your clothing, sip water, and apply cool, wet cloths to as much of your body as possible. If you have vomited and it continues, seek medical attention immediately.

Signs of heat stroke include high body temperature (above 103°F); hot, red, dry or moist skin; rapid and strong pulse and possible unconsciousness. If you suspect you or someone else has heat stroke, call 911 immediately. This is a medical emergency. Move the person to a cooler environment and use cool cloths or a bath to reduce the person's body temperature. Do not give fluids.