How to beat the summer heat

Heat can be a dangerous factor in everyday life, especially in the summer. Heat can lead to sunburn, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. However, you can help yourself and others by following simple safety rules.

Only two hours a day in an air-conditioned space can significantly reduce the risk of heat-related illness. Remember to stay indoors and avoid strenuous activities such as running, biking and lawn care work when the temperatures rise. Early mornings and late evenings are the best time to participate in such activities.

Clothing is important to stay cool during a summer day. Wear loose-fitting, lightweight and light-colored clothes to help maintain normal body temperature. To avoid too much sunlight, which can lead to sunburn, wear a wide-brimmed hat and use sunscreen with a high SPF.

Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. Allow your pets to have access to shade and a bowl of water to help them stay cool.

Remember to always think of others when handling the heat. Never leave a child or a pet in a closed vehicle. Temperatures inside a closed vehicle can reach up to 190 degrees within 30 minutes on a hot day.

Keeping lights turned down or off and limiting the use of an oven can help the environment on a sunny day, as well.

Learn the symptoms and first aid of heat disorders with the information below:

  •  The symptoms of Sunburn include skin redness and pain, possible swelling, blisters, fever and headaches. Take a shower, using soap, to remove oils that may block pores preventing the body from cooling naturally. If blisters occur, apply dry, sterile dressings and get medical attention.
  •  Heat Cramps can cause heavy sweating and are painful spasms usually in the leg and abdominal muscles. Firm pressure on cramping muscles or a gentle massage will relieve spasms. Give the victim sips of water and if nausea occurs, discontinue.
  •  Heat Exhaustion causes heavy sweating, weakness and cold, pale and clammy skin. There could be a weak pulse, fainting or vomiting. However, normal temperature is possible. Get victim to lie down in a cool place and loosen clothing. Apply cool, wet cloths and fan or move victim to an air-conditioned place. Give sips of water and if nausea occurs, discontinue. If vomiting occurs, seek immediate medical attention.
  •  Heat Stroke (Sun Stroke) causes high body temperature (106+); hot, dry skin; rapid, strong pulse; and possible unconsciousness. The victim will likely not sweat. Heat stroke is a severe medical emergency. Delay can be fatal, therefore, call 911 or get the victim to a hospital immediately. Move the victim to a cooler environment, such as a cool bath to reduce body temperature. Remove clothing and use fans and/or air conditioners. Do not give fluids to the victim. Use extreme caution.