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Beat the Heat: Summertime Tips to Keep You Healthy and Safe

Beat the Heat: Summertime Tips to Keep You Healthy and Safe

The National Weather Service predicts high temperatures in the coming weeks with heat indexes surpassing 100 degrees.

Extreme heat is defined as “high heat and humidity with temperatures above 90 degrees for at least two to three days,” according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Extreme heat is responsible for the highest amount of weather-related deaths annually.

Older adults, children, sick or overweight individuals are at the greatest risk during extreme heat. Experts have provided tips to prepare for and endure extreme heat.

Prepare for Extreme Heat

  • Learn to recognize the signs of heat illness.
  • Do not rely on a fan as your primary cooling device. Fans create air flow and a false sense of comfort, but do not reduce body temperature or prevent heat-related illnesses.
  • Identify places in your community where you can go to get cool such as libraries and shopping malls or contact your local health department to find a cooling center in your area.
  • Cover windows with drapes or shades.
  • Weather-strip doors and windows.
  • Use window reflectors specifically designed to reflect heat back outside.
  • Add insulation to keep the heat out.
  • Use a powered attic ventilator, or attic fan, to regulate the heat level of a building’s attic by clearing out hot air.
  • Install window air conditioners and insulate around them.
  • If you are unable to afford your cooling costs, weatherization or energy-related home repairs, contact the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) for help.

Be Safe During Extreme Heat

  • Never leave people or pets in a closed car on a warm day.
  • If air conditioning is not available in your home go to a cooling center.
  • Take cool showers or baths.
  • Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
  • If you’re outside, find shade. Wear a hat wide enough to protect your face.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated.
  • Avoid high-energy activities or work outdoors, during midday heat, if possible.
  • Check on family members, seniors and neighbors.
  • Watch for heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
  • Consider pet safety. If they are outside, make sure they have plenty of cool water and access to comfortable shade. Asphalt and dark pavement can be very hot to your pet’s feet.
  • If using a mask, use one that is made of breathable fabric, such as cotton, instead of polyester. Don’t wear a mask if you feel yourself overheating or have trouble breathing.

Heat-Related Illnesses

If you are exposed to extreme heat and begin to feel one of the following symptoms, call 911 immediately.

  • A body temperature exceeding 103 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Red, hot and dry skin with no sweat
  • Rapid, strong pulse
  • Dizziness, confusion or unconsciousness

After calling 911, do anything you can to cool down until medical help arrives. Do not drink anything.

Source: Extreme Heat, Ready.gov