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Summer Heatwave Survival Tips

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Summer Heatwave Survival Tips

As the summer sun beckons, our thoughts turn to backyards, pools and beaches, picnics, and the wonderful world of outdoor fun. It is a glorious time of year but, sometimes, summer’s heat can be a bit too much for our bodies to handle.

When a heatwave strikes, knowing how to prevent heat-related illness can ward off trouble before it’s too late. Be smart this summer … know how to prevent overheating and enjoy summer fun to the fullest.

Tips for Preventing Heat-Related Illness
From the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

  • Drink more fluids (nonalcoholic), regardless of your activity level. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. Warning: If your doctor generally limits the amount of fluid you drink or has you on water pills, ask him how much you should drink while the weather is hot.
  • Don’t drink liquids that contain alcohol or large amounts of sugar — these actually cause you to lose more body fluid. Also, avoid very cold drinks, because they can cause stomach cramps.
  • Stay indoors and, if at all possible, stay in an air-conditioned place. If your home does not have air conditioning, go to the shopping mall or public library–even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat. Call your local health department to see if there are any heat-relief shelters in your area.
  • Electric fans may provide comfort, but when the temperature is in the high 90s, fans will not prevent heat-related illness. Taking a cool shower or bath, or moving to an air-conditioned place is a much better way to cool off.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
  • NEVER leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle.

Although any one at any time can suffer from heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others. Check regularly on:

  • Infants and young children
  • People aged 65 or older
  • People who have a mental illness
  • Those who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure
  • Visit adults at risk at least twice a day and closely watch them for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Infants and young children, of course, need much more frequent watching.

If you must be out in the heat:

  • Cut down on exercise. If you must exercise, drink two to four glasses of cool, nonalcoholic fluids each hour. A sports beverage can replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat. Warning: If you are on a low-salt diet, talk with your doctor before drinking a sports beverage. Remember the warning in the first “tip” (above), too.
  • Try to rest often in shady areas.
  • Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat (also keeps you cooler) and sunglasses and by putting on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher (the most effective products say “broad spectrum” or “UVA/UVB protection” on their labels).

Next: Signs of Heat-Related Illness and What To Do

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3:18PM PDT on Mar 27, 2012


10:18AM PDT on Aug 27, 2011

Thank you

12:21PM PDT on Aug 1, 2011

Enjoy the early morning....
Enjoy a/c in the afternoons
Enjoy the evenings, and when the sun goes down take a walk,visit with neighbors,and best of all,enjoy a good nights sleep

10:12PM PDT on Jul 29, 2011

I keep rice filled stockings, (about 1 foot long) in the freezer. They're great to put around your neck when all the rest have failed!

3:02PM PDT on Jul 23, 2011

Staying inside in an air conditioned building is the best.

10:49PM PDT on Jun 20, 2011

I've had heat exhaustion,and it's much worse than it sounds.It was pure misery.I thought I was going to die.Couldn't even walk,had to be picked up by vehicle and brought to the medical area (happened at a county fair).Pure hell,don't let it happen to you.

5:29PM PDT on Jun 16, 2011

thank you

3:27AM PDT on Jun 15, 2011

Thanks for the helpful tips!

8:06PM PDT on Jun 14, 2011

When nothing else worked, as a kid, I'd lie down with a wet towel on me. I've been told I could catch a cold, but I never did, and it beat the heat.

5:47PM PDT on Jun 14, 2011

I get hot standing still.

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