Take Care of Yourself and Others When it’s Hot
Hotter weather is on the way, increasing concerns about heat-related illness, which can be very serious. Extreme heat can cause more illness among the elderly, young children and those who have chronic diseases. Heat-related illnesses happen when your body cannot cool itself. Some heat illnesses are mild - like heat rash, sun burn, and heat cramps. Others - like heat exhaustion, dehydration, and heat stroke - can be severe or even life-threatening.
Working together we can all be healthier and safer in the heat by taking these simple precautions.
1. Small actions can make a big difference, reducing illness and saving lives
• Keep an eye out for your neighbors or anyone you know that may have special needs, health issues, or live alone.
• Never leave anyone, especially children, pets, or those with special needs in a parked car, even briefly. Temperatures in the car can become life threatening within a few minutes.
2. Keep Cool
• Use air conditioning in your home to cool down or go to an air-conditioned building such as a store, public library, restaurant, friend or relatives home.
• An electric fan can help cool you down, but are not as good for cooling off once temperatures get into the mid-90s or higher.
• Keep windows and shades closed during the day, especially on the sunny side of your home. Open them back up at night to let cooler air circulate into your home.
• Take a cool shower or bath.
• Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
• Stay out of the sun as much as possible.
• Wear sunscreen and a ventilated hat (a hat made out of straw or mesh) when outside, even if it is cloudy.
3. Drink Fluids
• Drink more fluids even if you are not very active.
• Avoid alcohol, caffeine and sugary drinks, since these drinks can dry your body out.
• If you are on fluid restrictions or on diuretics, ask your doctor how much fluid you should drink.
4. Take it easy (take more breaks!)
• Take regular breaks from any physical activity – at least every hour.
• Avoid strenuous activity during the hottest part of the day (between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.).
If you must be out in the heat follow these tips.
• Try to limit your outdoor activity to morning and evening hours unless there is an air quality advisory in the area that recommends limiting activity during these times.
• Cut down on exercise. If you must exercise, drink two to four glasses of cool, nonalcoholic fluids each hour. A sports drink can replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat. If you are on a low-salt diet, talk with your doctor before drinking a sports beverage.
• Rest often in shady areas – at least every hour.
• Protect yourself from the sun and heat by wearing a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses. Put on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher. The most effective products say “broad spectrum” or "UVA/UVB protection" on the label.
Know the symptoms of heat illness and what to do.
Muscle cramping might be the first sign of heat-related illness and may lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Here are signs to help you recognize heat exhaustion and heat stroke and when to seek emergency medical attention.
You can learn more about protecting yourself, your family and your neighbors from the heat and health-related illnesses by going to these websites:
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