As temperatures soar and extreme heat becomes increasingly common, it’s crucial to take proactive measures to protect ourselves, our families, and our communities from the risks of heat-related illnesses. When our bodies struggle to cool down through sweating alone, the dangers of heat exhaustion and heatstroke escalate rapidly. Here are some with essential tips to help you beat the heat and stay cool during excessively hot months.
Stay Cool When Outdoors
When venturing outside during hot weather, it is vital to dress appropriately and take extra precautions, particularly for vulnerable populations such as infants, young children, and the elderly.
- Opt for lightweight, loose-fitting clothing in light colors to allow better airflow.
- Shield your eyes from the sun’s glare with sunglasses and protect your head by wearing a hat or using an umbrella.
- Ensure infants and young children wear loose, breathable clothing, hats, and protective footwear.
Before stepping out, remember to protect your skin from harmful UV rays by applying sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher at least 30 minutes before exposure. Regularly reapply sunscreen throughout the day for optimal protection.
Take Precautions When Working Outdoors
If your job requires outdoor work, prioritize your well-being by implementing the following precautions to avoid the potential for heat exhaustion and heatstroke:
- Take frequent breaks and find respite in a cool or shaded area.
- Plan your tasks during the early morning hours when temperatures are generally lower.
- If you experience symptoms such as lightheadedness, weakness, confusion, or difficulty breathing due to exertion in the heat, immediately cease activity. Seek a cool environment or shade and rest.
- Stay properly hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
- Shield yourself from the sun by wearing a hat and suitable clothing.
Hiking enthusiasts need to take extra precautions during the summer months to prevent the potential for heat exhaustion and heatstroke:
- Familiarize yourself with the “Take a Hike. Do it Right” campaign by the City of Phoenix, aimed at educating the public about hiking safety and heat-related illness prevention.
- Stay informed about weather conditions, hike with a companion, carry a fully charged phone, and be mindful that certain chronic illnesses like diabetes or heart disease can heighten vulnerability to heat.
- In some areas of the valley take your dog hiking when temperatures exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit is prohibited.
Staying Cool Indoors
When indoors with high temperatures, follow these guidelines to stay cool and comfortable:
- Opt for minimal clothing to allow better ventilation.
- While electric fans may provide temporary relief, they are insufficient during extreme heat.
- Seek air-conditioned spaces. If your home lacks air conditioning, consider visiting a nearby shopping mall or public library to escape the heat.
- Take frequent cool baths or showers. However, avoid taking a shower immediately after becoming overheated to prevent feeling ill or dizzy.
Proper hydration is crucial during periods of extreme heat. Follow these guidelines to stay adequately hydrated and avoid the potential for heat exhaustion and heatstroke:
- Drink water consistently, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Water is the best fluid to maintain optimum hydration.
- Avoid beverages with high sugar content, alcohol, or caffeine, as they can further dehydrate your body.
- Refrain from consuming very cold beverages, as they may lead to stomach cramps.
- Only take salt tablets if specifically directed by your doctor. Adequate hydration and a balanced diet should generally replenish the body’s salt and mineral levels.
Check on Others.
It is essential to look out for others, particularly those who may be more vulnerable to heat-related issues:
- Regularly check on your neighbors to ensure they have access to air conditioning and an adequate supply.