Summer is upon us and along with it, the potential for hot weather. Enjoying the sunshine and warmth is fun, but the really hot stuff can cause illness or even be fatal. Especially at risk are children and the elderly. Here are some steps you can take to keep you and your loved ones safe during those blistering spells.
- Unless you’re very good at tolerating extreme heat, avoid going outside if possible. Seek shelter in an air-conditioned building or room.
- Cover windows that get direct sunlight to reduce amount of heat building up in a room.
- Eat light, balanced meals, perhaps smaller and more frequently than you normally might.
- Drink plenty of fluids, avoiding drinks that contain caffeine, alcohol or a lot of sugar.
- Dress infants and children lightly, avoid heavy clothes or blankets
- Never leave anyone (child, adult or pet) in a parked vehicle for any period of time.
- Make certain family pets have plenty of water and can find shelter from the sun.
- Be sure to check in with neighbors, especially if elderly, sick or otherwise at risk during heat emergencies.
- Sun and heat exposure can adversely affect you if you’re on certain medications. If you are on any medications, check with your doctor to see if you need to take additional precautions or change your dosage.
- Plan outdoor activities during the early morning or in the evening when the temperatures are cooler. Take frequent breaks, especially if exerting yourself.
- Don’t forget the sunblock, at least SPF 30, and re-apply it every two hours, (more frequently if swimming). Be certain to get your face, nose and ears too. A wide-brimmed hat can also be helpful for keeping the sun off of your face and neck. If you get sunburned, your skin will lose the ability to cool itself.
- Cool off! A dip in the pool or lake is always a welcome relief, as is a cooling, tepid shower. Just avoid extreme changes in temperature, that can be just as bad for you.
Signs & Symptoms
Watch out for the signs of heat illness, such as nausea, dizziness, headaches, muscle cramps. If you or somebody experiences these symptoms, get out of the heat as soon as possible, rest and try slowly drinking a cool beverage. If there is no improvement, seek help immediately or call 911.