Although much of the U.S. will experience some relief from recordbreaking heat soon, Summer 2012 is really just getting cranked up. Here are some reminders about coping with extreme heat and how to avoid heat illness.
- Drink a lot more (non-alcoholic, non-sugary) fluids, especially water. Don’t wait until you are thirsty; keep sipping throughout the day. (Do check with your doctor if you take water pills or are supposed to limit intake.)
- Avoid very cold drinks – they can cause stomach cramps.
- Stay indoors, preferably with air conditioning on. If you don’t have AC, look for a public space like a shopping mall or public library that is air conditioned. There also may be heat-relief centers in your area.
- Fans may help, but won’t prevent heat illness; take a cool shower or bath instead.
- Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
- Wear a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen (“broad spectrum” SPF 15 or higher)
- NEVER leave anyone – including pets – in a closed, parked vehicle!
- Limit outdoor activities to morning and evening hours
- Slow down on exercise; drink even more fluids; sports drinks can replace salt and minerals you lose in sweat (On a low-salt diet? Talk to your doctor.)
- Rest often in shady areas.
- Beware of spoiled food, particularly after power outages
- Stay tuned to local news and weather reports
- Know the symptoms of heat illness and basic first aid. Find detailed info at the CDC website: http://www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/heattips.asp
- Check in regularly (at least every few hours) on high-risk folks:
- People 65 and older
- Infants and young children
- People who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure
- People who have a mental illness
Did we leave anything important off our list? Please add your own tips in a comment!