From the general summer heat to the extreme temperatures we’ve all experienced the past few summers, staying safe in the heat is more important than ever. Whether you’re spending time outdoors having fun or you’re working outside, here’s what you need to know to keep yourself and your family safe.
Easier said than done, but when you can, stay inside in the air conditioning. If you must be outside, stay in the shade as much as you can. If you can’t, take breaks and find shade often. Becoming overheated can lead to severe illness and even death.
Wear loose-fitting and light-colored clothing to keep your body as cool as possible. Dark clothes only absorb the heat, and thick clothes will keep you even hotter.
Drink plenty of water, even if you don’t feel thirsty, to stay hydrated. If you’re working out in the heat, drink Gatorade or other electrolyte drinks. Avoid caffeine and alcohol as both can dehydrate you quickly.
If you begin to feel cramps or spasms, your electrolytes may be low or you may be dehydrated — or both. Take a break in a cool place and get something to drink.
Take Care of Pets and Kids
We want our kids to play outside during the summer, but during extreme heat that can be unsafe. Keep them inside or keep them involved in activities that will keep them cool. Make sure they have plenty of water to drink.
Your pets need extra water and shade when temperatures rise. If you can, bring them into your home or a covered location out of the heat. Never leave pets or kids unattended in a vehicle. Kids and pets can become seriously ill and die even when left only a short time on a warm day.
Avoid Strenuous Activity
The high-heat of the summer might be the right time to take your workouts indoors. Strenuous exercise and activity shouldn’t be done when it’s hot outside. If you’re working outside, move slowly, take breaks, and stay hydrated.
Watch for signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Move to a cooler place. Drink fluids. Get cooled off as best as you can. If the person vomits or passes out, call 911 immediately.
Check on Neighbors
If you have neighbors with no air conditioner or who are elderly or disabled, check on them when the temperature rises. They may have everything they need and be fine, but they might not. If you suspect one of your neighbors is in a dangerous situation with the heat, get help.
When to Call 911 for Problems Related to High Heat
Even with all your precautions, it’s possible that the heat could impact you, your child, a neighbor, or a co-worker. If you see any or all of these symptoms, call 911 immediately:
- Hot dry skin — but no sweat
- The person is confused and disoriented
- Chest pains and/or shortness of breath
- Passed out or unconscious for any reason
Your call could save a life.
The summer is a time for fun in the sun, but when temperatures get too high, people and pets can become seriously ill. Take care of yourself, your family, and your neighbors this summer and stay safe.