Healthy Body

How to Stay Safe in the Summer Heat

The kids are out of school, the outdoors is calling, and the Heat Index is 110. Let’s face it; Summer can be HOT! While summer has always been hot, it seems to be getting a bit hotter. And excessive heat poses a significant risk to people’s health. It can even be deadly for some if they experience heat exhaustion or heat-related stroke. Some people are more at risk of developing a heat-related illness, including adults aged 65 and older, those with chronic medical conditions, people working outside, infants and children, and athletes.
Heat Exhaustion caused by excessive heat exposure can lead to sunburn, heat cramps, or heat stroke. If someone is experiencing heat cramps in the legs or abdomen, get them to a cooler place, have them rest, lightly stretch the affected muscle, and replenish their fluids with half a glass (about 4 ounces) of cool water every 15 minutes. If someone is exhibiting signs of heat exhaustion (cool, moist, pale or flushed skin, heavy sweating, headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness exhaustion), move them to a cooler place, remove or loosen tight clothing and spray the person with water or apply cool, wet clothes or towels to the skin.

If they are conscious, give them small amounts of cool water to drink. Make sure the person drinks slowly. Watch for changes in condition. If the person refuses water, vomits, or begins to lose consciousness, call 911.
Heat Stroke is a medical emergency! Call 911 immediately. Signs include hot, red skin, which may be dry or moist; changes in consciousness; vomiting and high body temperature. Move the person to a cooler place and quickly cool the person’s body by immersing them up to their neck in cold water if possible. Otherwise, douse or spray the person with cold water, or cover the person with cold, wet towels or bags of ice.

So be on Alert for Extreme Heat when you hear the weather forecaster use the following terms. You will likely hear weather forecasters use these terms when a heat wave is predicted in your community. The temperature at which these forecasts are issued may vary according to your climate.
Heat Index– The Heat Index is one way to measure how hot it feels outside. Humidity is considered with the temperature. For example, when the temperature is 95 °F, and the relative humidity is 50 percent, the heat Index is 105 °F. To find the Heat Index temperature, use the online calculator available at
Heat Advisory – Typically issued within one to three days of the onset of dangerous conditions and remain in effect until the danger has passed. A Heat Advisory is typically issued when the heat index value is expected to reach 105 to 109 degrees.
Excessive Heat Watch – Conditions are favorable for an excessive heat event in your local area. An Excessive Heat Watch is typically issued two to five days ahead of possible dangerous heat conditions. Certainty regarding the development and timing of the event is lower than a warning.
Excessive Heat Warning-An Excessive Heat Warning, sometimes preceded by an Excessive Heat Watch, is typically issued within one to three days of the onset of extremely dangerous heat conditions and remains in effect until the extreme danger subsides. Certainty is high that the event will occur. Heat Index values are forecast to meet or exceed locally defined warning criteria for at least two days (daytime highs= 105-110° Fahrenheit). Click here for a flyer from the National Weather Service.

What to do when you hear these forecasts. How to stay safe in the summer heat:

The American Red Cross lists steps you can take to help stay safe when the temperatures soar. You can also find more information here.

Top safety tips from the American Red Cross:

1. Never leave children or pets in your vehicle since the inside temperature of a car can quickly reach 120 degrees.

2. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids and avoid drinking caffeine or alcohol. 12 Foods That Hydrate Your Body

3. Check on family, friends, and neighbors who do not have air conditioning or who live alone.

4. If you do not have air conditioning, seek relief from the heat during the warmest part of the day in places like schools, libraries, theaters, malls, etc.

5. Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing. Avoid dark colors because they absorb the sun’s rays and can make you hotter. How to Dress For Summer Heat

6. Slow down, postpone outdoor activities or move activities indoors, and avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day.

7. Use a buddy system when working in excessive heat. Take frequent breaks if working outdoors.

8. Check on animals frequently to ensure that they are not suffering from the heat. Make sure they have plenty of cool water.

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